Popular fast food brands, including KFC, Pizza Hut and Costa Coffee, are set to open outlets at a new F&B complex at the Maldives main Velana International Airport.
State owned airport operator Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) signed an agreement on Monday with global restaurateur HMSHost International to set up four international franchises, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee and Harvest Market, at the airport. The agreement was signed by MACL Managing Director Adil Moosa and HMSHost CEO Walter Seib.
Adil told reporters that the outlets would be up and running in three months. More franchises, including an outlet by Gloria Jean’s Coffees, will soon be opened at the airport, he added.
“The new F&B complex has more space. So, we are already in talks with more franchisees to open their outlets here,” Adil said.
Seib stressed that HMSHost had long waited for an opportunity to start its operations in the Maldives.
“Our operation in Maldives will create more than 100 job opportunities. We’ll also try to bring in more brands,” he said.
A subsidiary of Autogrill S.p.A, a major player in the global food and hospitality industry, HMSHost has operations in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East, and has almost 50 years experience in airport restaurant operations, design, concept and development.
HMSHost’s expertise lies in bringing vibrant local brands into airport terminals as well as creating and operating its own innovative, custom-designed restaurants.
MACL has earlier announced that it was in talks with regional franchisees of top fast food brands to set up their outlets at the new waterfront F&B complex, which is being built at the waterfront of the airport. Some of the franchise brands in the announcement include McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts and Hard Rock Café.
Assembling the steel structure for the 14,000 square feet building, which will house the new F&B complex, is underway. The two-storey building was brought in from China, and is being assembled by a Singaporean contractor.
MACL will also allow the franchisees to open outlets in the new terminal of the airport being developed.
Velana International Airport already features a number of international fast food franchises, including Burger King, The Coffee Club, Thai Express, The Pizza Company and Dairy Queen. The outlets are managed by Thailand-based Minor International, which also operates five resorts in the Maldives.
Apart from these additions and minor improvements, a separate USD 800 million mega project has been launched to expand and upgrade the airport. The project involves building a brand new runway, an international passenger terminal and a seaplane terminal as well as other support facilities, including a fuel farm that can store 45 million litres and a 120,000 tonne cargo facility.
The airport is a key infrastructure that supports the Maldives multi-billion dollar tourism industry. Expansion of the airport is expected to boost tourist arrivals to the island nation as it aims to attract at least two million tourists by 2020.