Kaadedhdhoo Airport will become 'a thousand times better': Gasim

Chairman of Villa Group, MP Gasim Ibrahim, has said the development of GDh. Kaadedhdhoo Airport would see the airport becoming a 'thousand times better' than its current standard. He made the comments while speaking to the airport staff after Villa Group took over the airport operation on Tuesday.

Villa Air used to operate Kaadedhdhoo Airport from 2014 onwards until former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom's administration in 2017 terminated the government's agreement with the company. The administration then claimed that the airport was being run against the standards of the Civil Aviation Authority. However, the Transport Ministry handed over the airport's operation back to the company on Tuesday, after the Supreme Court last May ruled that the agreement was terminated wrongfully.

Speaking to the airport staff, Gasim said the airport would open up opportunities for the Huvadhu atoll and that the people of Huvadhu atoll would no longer have to depend on other regional airports for travel and development.

Gasim further said Villa Group would carry out development activities to upgrade the airport to an international airport. In the future, the airport would have the capacity to cater to seaplanes, which would expand tourism in the atoll, he added.

Villa Air's Managing Director Abdulla Nashid previously told AVAS that the company proposed to the government to upgrade the airport to an international airport within seven years. While Villa Air will finance the work, he said that the airport could continue operation and development simultaneously. Acknowledging that upgrading the airport to international standards would be challenging, he assured that the company would dredge the airport area, build runways and new terminals and make it an airport that can offer the best services to passengers.

'We do not wish for what happened to Gan International Airport following its development to happen to Kaadehdhoo Airport. We mean that the government must find ways to increase the region's bed capacity along with airport development. We will share our thoughts and opinions with the government. KAadedhdhoo area currently has a bed capacity of 1,800,' Nashid said.