Maldives Promotion House – Maldivian government has announced that they will be renaming the Malé International Airport to Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, from July 26th onwards. July 26th is celebrated as the official Independence Day of Maldives.
The Airport was constructed during the Presidency of Ibrahim Nasir, and was initially named Hulhulé Airport. The airport was renamed to Malé International Airport in November 11th, 1981 by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom.
“The Cabinet decided to rename the Airport because the airport began with former President Ibrahim Nasir,” Transport Minister of Maldives Adil Saleem said.
Ibrahim Nasir was sworn in as the first President of the Republic of Maldives on 11th November 1968. He is widely credited with modernising the long isolated and nearly unknown Maldives and opening them up to the rest of the world.
His foremost achievements included that of bringing the Maldives to the United Nations even with the opposition of some nations that felt awkward at including a nation of such a small size. He laid the foundations of the nation by modernising the fisheries industry with mechanized vessels and starting the tourism industry.
He was credited with many other improvements such as introducing an English-based modern curriculum to government-run schools. He brought television and radio to the country with formation of Television Maldives and Radio Maldives, now MNBCOne and Rajje Radio, for broadcasting radio signals nationwide.
He abolished Vaaru, a tax on the people living on islands outside Malé, as well as many other taxes on various imports to the country, some of which have been since re-instated.
When Nasir relinquished power Maldives was debt-free to the international community, and corruption was effectively under control. Under his watch, the national shipping line, with more than 40 ships that were plying the oceans of the world, remained a source of national pride for Maldivians. It was a remarkable success story among the maritime nations of South Asia.
Nasir is considered as the independence hero of the Maldives. He brought about the independence of the Maldives from being a protectorate of the British Empire.