Dhaalu Airport readies for opening, promises to be Maldives most advanced domestic airport
Dhaalu Airport is gearing up for its opening, with the promise of being the most advanced domestic airport in Maldives.
The airport being developed on the island of Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu atoll is set to begin test flights soon, its developer Reollo Investment’s CEO Mohamed Khaleel told local media on Saturday. Construction works have been completed with only minor legal matters pending, he said.
“We have also given a tour of the airport to locals, including school students,” Khaleel said.
The USD20 million airport, which has been built on 64 hectares of land reclaimed from the lagoon of Kudahuvadhoo, is part of the development of the newly opened Kandima Maldives resort. The resort, which opened last month, is located a 20-minute boat ride away from the airport.
In addition to Kandima, Dhaalu atoll is home to three other resorts; Sun Aqua Vilu Reef, Angsana Velavaru and PER AQUUM Niyama.
An airport in the atoll will benefit locals who often travel to capital Male, and boost tourism by reducing the price of domestic travel to resorts in the atoll from the main Velana International Airport. Resorts in the atoll now depend on more expensive seaplane transfers.
Maldives, the most dispersed country on the planet with 1,192 islands spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres, already has 11 airports, including three international airports. The country’s flagship carrier Maldivian operates flights to all the airports in the country while a private airline flies to a few select airports.
Over a million tourists from across the globe visit the Indian Ocean island nation every year to holiday in one of the 120 resorts and 300 plus guesthouses located in all corners of the country. The multi-billion dollar tourism industry, which is the country’s main economic activity, relies heavily on the domestic transport infrastructure, especially air travel.