Kooddoo Airport reopens with upgraded runway, facilities

Kooddoo Airport reopened Monday after a major upgrade to accommodate narrow-body airliners and private jets.

At a special ceremony held at the airport Monday afternoon, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom inaugurated the upgraded airport. Several ministers and top government officials attended the ceremony, where the new website of the airport and the new staff uniform were unveiled.

Kooddoo Airport CEO Mohamed Ali Janah, who is a leading figure in the local construction industry, said the runway has been extended as much as possible. Along with the extended runway, a new lounge serving business class and VIP passengers, and a dedicated harbour have also been developed, he added.

“The airport will be staffed by locals only. We have hired 15 new employees, increasing our staff to 58,” Janah said.

The new Code C runway of the airport measures 1,800 metres in length, and is able to accommodate Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircrafts as well as all categories of private jets.

Kooddoo Airport, located on the island of Kooddoo in Gaafu Alifu atoll, was initially opened on September 10, 2012 with twice daily service from the main Velana International Airport by flagship carrier Maldivian. The airport was developed with a 1,200 metre runway by Bonvests Holdings Ltd, a leading property development company from Singapore.

Bonvests Holdings owns the The Residence Maldives resort, and is currently developing another resort in Dhigurah island. Both the islands are just few minutes from Kooddoo Airport.

Kooddoo Airport also serves the recently opened Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort, located on the same island.

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.

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 government has contracted both local and international companies to develop additional domestic airports across the archipelago in a bid to boost tourism.

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