Maldives' main international airport, Velana International Airport (VIA), will begin using its new runway on Monday.
The new runway was constructed by China's Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) under a USD 373 million loan from China's EXIM Bank. The 3,400-meter long 60-meter wide runway was officially opened by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom on September 5, 2018, with the landing of Etihad Airways A380. However, the runway was not utilized for daily operation as some works of the runway remained incomplete.
VIA's operator, Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), said the new runway would be used as a taxiway from February 1 onwards by planes that land on the main runway. MACL believes the change will free up more space at the busy airport.
'With this change, we can increase the number of aircraft that land in an hour from eight to sixteen. This will be a good change, as it would eliminate the need to hold aircraft [that are in queue to land],' an official from MACL said.