'No intention of selling shares of any airport'

The government has no intention of selling shares of local airports to any foreign companies, Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail has stated. Fayyaz made the statement while criticism has been aimed at the government over the newly implemented amendments to the Foreign Direct Investment Policy, which allows 100-percent foreign-owned companies to operate Maldives' airports, including air traffic control.

A press briefing was held Monday on short notice to speak on the new amendments. During the event, Minister Fayyaz said although there are rumors that the government intends to sell Regional Airports Company to foreign parties, the rumors are far from the truth. The government has no such intentions, and no shares of any airports will be sold to any foreign parties, assured Fayyaz.

Fayyaz further said the government has high hopes for the Regional Airports Company and that the government will consider selling the company only when it becomes a successful and strong company, which could be years from now. Even in that case, a deal would be made in such a way that it benefits the Maldivian people, said Fayyaz.

Fayyaz earlier on Monday clarified that the FDI Policy amendment does not allow operation of air traffic by private investors whether foreign or local. Air traffic services will be conducted by the State in all airports of the Maldives, said the minister. He gave assurance that the wording in the amendment will be changed to remove any misunderstanding.