The Maldives' main international airport, Velana International Airport's new VIP terminal, was opened on Friday.
China's BUCG company constructed the new terminal. Although the terminal is now open and in use, it has not been officially inaugurated yet. However, China's State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, who will arrive later on Friday, will become the first state official to be hosted at the terminal.
The development of the terminal is being carried out over two phases. While the first phase has reached completion and is open for service, it will offer even more modern and exclusive services than the current 'Maamahi Lounge' terminal.
The VIP terminal was developed under the USD one billion airport development project undertaken by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom. While the current lounge can accommodate 65 passengers at a time, the new terminal will be able to cater to 95 passengers simultaneously.
The new terminal has four levels and has a special area to serve visiting Heads of States. This area is known a the CIP area. The area will have custom and immigration counters and other services that a visiting high-level PVIP may require.
The VIP lounge is spread over an area of over 2,000 square meters and is located adjacent to the current VIP lounge. Private rooms are also available in the building and will offer luxury services.
With the conclusion of the first phase of the VIP terminal construction, the Maamahi Lounge will be demolished to utilize the space for the second phase. Upon completing the final phase, VIA's VIP terminal would become the number one terminal in the region, VIA operator Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) said.
A 3,400-meter long runway has been constructed under the airport development project, which cost approximately USD 373 million. Saudi Arabia's Bin Laden Group is also building a new passenger terminal. Additionally, a cargo terminal and a fuel storage system are being established under the project.
Additionally, a new seaplane terminal has been constructed at the airport. Although the project reached completion over two years ago, the new terminal is still not in use.