The refueling load on Maldives' main international airport, Velana International Airport (VIA), has increased due to the economic crisis faced by neighboring Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's oil supply has declined due to the economic slowdown faced by the country. As a result, many aircraft are refueling at the VIA instead of Sri Lanka. Therefore, the Maldives Airports Company (MACL), which operates VIA, has limited the amount of fuel supplied to aircraft.
Speaking regarding the change, MACL's Deputy Managing Director Ibrahim Thoha said aircraft that used to refuel 10,000 liters are now refueling 40,000 liters due to the Sri Lankan crisis. This is the reason for limiting oil sales, he said.
"Our fuel capacity is 13 million meters. These 13 million meters are managed by making forecasts for every winter and summer. This is summer; however, our load is huge. Due to fuel not being available in Colombo, Sri Lanka, [aircraft] take more fuel from the airport [VIA]. Aircraft operating between the Maldives and Sri Lanka take enough for a return trip. So, we have to sell more oil than our forecast," Thoha said.
"Sri Lanka is our neighbor. Therefore, we are providing them with a lot of assistance. That includes Sri Lankan Airlines. All their flights are fueled here," he added.
Thoha said that although fuel sales are limited, fuel is being supplied to all aircraft arriving and departing from the Maldives.
"However, we cannot limitlessly supply fuel. Our recent NOTAM—limiting announcement—is meant to inform the pilot community about this. We are informing all airlines, and all parties are very supportive," Thoha said.