Maldives main airport unveils new departure gates, expands baggage carousels

Maldives main Velana International Airport has unveiled three new departure gates and expanded baggage carousels, as the country gears up for the peak tourist season.

At a ceremony held at the airport Wednesday afternoon, the new facilities developed at the international passenger terminal were inaugurated by Adil Moosa, Managing Director of state-owned airport operator Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL).

Adil told the attendees that the new gates would increase the total number of dedicated gates for international passengers to six. The number of passengers that can be handled at a time will also increase to 900 from 600, he added.

“These gates have been built at a 1,000 square metre area,” Adil said.

Two of the existing four baggage carousels have also been expanded to 87 feet from 50 feet, increasing the capacity to 300 pieces of luggage at a time.

“We spent about USD 3 million to build the new gates and expand the baggage carousels,” Adil said.

The new facilities at the Maldives main gateway come into operation as several international airlines prepare to increase flight frequency to the island nation ahead of the upcoming peak tourist season.

December to April is considered the peak tourist season, as these months constitute summers in Maldives. Between December and April, the islands boast of dry weather, making it ideal for tourists to travel and enjoy the tropical environment.

Resorts across the archipelago organise special activities for the festive season, which falls during the peak tourist season. Popular resorts such as Baros MaldivesAmilla Fushi and Finolhu MaldivesSoneva Fushi, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort and Mirihi Island Resort have already announced their festive programmes for this year.

In addition to the minor improvements, a USD 800 million mega project has been launched to expand and upgrade the main Velana International 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.

Photo: Mihaaru

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