Maldives airport operator appoints Brit as chief executive

Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) has appointed a Brit as its chief executive.

Gordan Andrew Stewart has over 30 years of experience in the global aviation industry, having worked across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.

He spent 20 years of his career at executive and board level positions.

“We believe that his in-depth understanding of the business and recognised leadership will guide MACL to achieve greater success,” a circular read.

Gordan will join the state-owned operator of the Maldives main Velana International Airport as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director after the country reopens its borders to foreign visitors on July 15.

Since Adil Moosa resigned from the Managing Director’s post in November 2018 after the change in government, Moosa Solih had been running MACL in an acting capacity.

In July 2019, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said his government was restructuring MACL. A chief executive and a Chief Operating Officer would be appointed as part of the restructuring process, he had said.

MACL is the most profitable state-owned enterprise in the country, with MVR 1.2 billion ($77.9 million) in net profit recorded in 2018 alone.

However, the company has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, as international and local authorities imposed far-reaching travel restrictions to control the spread of the virus.

MACL oversees a USD 800 million mega project 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 over the next few years.

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