Maldives secures $50 mln loan from Abu Dhabi Fund for main airport’s new terminal

Maldives has secured a USD 50 million loan from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development to develop a new passenger terminal at the island nation’s main airport.

A loan agreement was signed at a ceremony held at the Ruler’s Court in Dubai on Tuesday, as part of Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s ongoing visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The president and first lady were joined at the ceremony by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, vice president and prime minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai.

Details of the loan were not revealed, but Maldives Insider understands that it amounts to USD 50 million.

Designing and construction of the new 80,000 sq ft passenger terminal, which is expected to cater to at least seven million passengers per annum, has been contracted to the Saudi Binladin Group.

The new terminal, which costs USD 350 million, is part of a USD 800 million mega project to expand and upgrade the main Velana International Airport. The project also involves building a brand new runway 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.

USD 570 million of the USD 800 million needed for the project have already been raised from international financiers, especially Arab funding agencies. It includes a USD 100 million loan from Saudi Fund for Development, a USD 50 million loan from Kuwait Fund and a USD 50 million loan from OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).

China EXIM Bank has also granted a loan of USD 400 million for the new runway, which has been contracted to Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) of China.

State-owned airport operator Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) has also invested USD 50 million from its own funds.

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.

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