Maldives operationalises new runway at main airport

The new runway of Velana International Airport (VIA) officially opened on Thursday. 

Vice President Faisal Naseem attended the ceremony held at VIA at 6.30am where an Emirates B777 aircraft landed at the new Code F runway which was developed on reclaimed land on the east side of the airport island of Hulhule.

The aircraft was welcomed with a water salute.

With the introduction of the new runway, the old runway will then be used as a taxiway.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the runway, Chairman of Airport Company Limited (MACL) Mohamed Umar Manik said the new runway opened is an ISO standard runway. Noting that the largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus-A380, will be able to land on the new runway, he noted: 

  • The new runway will have a modern drainage system
  • Oil tankers will no longer be needed as fuel will be pumped from designated stations
  • This was like opening a new airport within an airport that was in operation
  • He thanked all those involved for concluding their work despite many challenges

Vice President Faisal Naseem said that the new runway is the first step towards uplifting airport services to cater to the developing tourism industry. Faisal said that everyone was looking to expand the Maldivian economy and increase the self-sufficiency of the general public. He said that the main aim of this administration was to facilitate travel and bring development to the whole country.

As part of the major project initiated by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration to develop VIA, a new runway was officially opened at VIA in September 2018. However, the new runway had only been used as a taxiway since February due to the delay in relocating the adjacent seaplane terminal.

New runway project:

  • $150 million (MVR 2.3 billion) project
  • The project was carried out through loans from Exim Bank of China
  • The runway is 3,400 metres long and 60 metres wide
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