Maamigili Airport receives International Airport status

Maamigili Airport has been upgraded from a domestic airport to an international airport.

Maamigili Airport was developed and is run by Villa Group, owned by prominent businessman and MP Gasim Ibrahim.

Speaking to AVAS, Villa Air's Director Abdulla Nashid said after the company requested to upgrade Maamigili Airport as an international airport on May 19, the company last Thursday received the green light from the Civil Aviation Authority to upgrade the airport. The authority also issued permission for the airline to add international routes.

Villa Air had planned to begin flights between Male' and Bangalore as soon as the ministry allowed international travel from Maamigili Airport, and had hoped to launch the route on September 29. However, since the permit upgrading the airport's status was received on day later, the service could not be commenced as scheduled. However, the launch date will be announced within the week, said Nashid.

Villa Group previously attempted to open Maamigili Airport for international flights and the permit to use the airport as an international airport was issued in 2013 during former President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik's presidency. However, the move was blocked by former President Abdul Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's administration in 2015 by cancelling the permit issued to the group. Nashid said although the permit was cancelled, airport upgrading work was not interrupted and that the airport was further developed.

'Compared to before, our capacity has increased by 200 percent, and we now have a lounge and arrival hall that can accomodate upto 120 passengers. We can immediately open as soon as we receive the green light,' Nashid said.