VIA's new runway to be put into service next month

The new runway at Velana International Airport (VIA) will be put into service next month.

VIA's operator, Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) said the new runway, which is currently being used as a temporary taxiway, will be used as a runway starting October 6. The airport's new seaplane terminal will be officially opened on the same day, MACL said.

When the runway is used for its intended purpose, it will reduce the time it takes for flights to land and taxiway at the airport.

MACL had previously announced that it was preparing to use the new runway in October in preparation for the peak season of the tourism industry. The government had earlier said the delay in opening the new runway was due to delays in removing existing buildings in the area.

The new runway was built under a China EXIM bank loan of USD 373 million by China's Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG). The runway, which is 3,400 meters in length and 60 meters wide, was opened on September 5, 2018, by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom. An Etihad A380 was the maiden flight to land at the new runway at a special ceremony held to open the runway. However, scheduled flights did not land at the runway as some work of the runway was still incomplete.