Maldives seeks Chinese investment for ambitious VIA development project

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has requested the assistance of Chinese investors for the third phase of the development of the Velana International Airport (VIA).

Last Thursday, the Maldives government launched a megaproject to develop VIA to cater to 23 million passengers annually. The project is part of the government's master plan for the development of the air transport industry in the Maldives for the next 20 years.

Speaking at the Maldives Invest Forum in Fujian Province, China, President Dr. Muizzu emphasized that the airport project as well as the government's Commercial Port Project are key strategic initiatives that are in alignment with the Belt and Road Initiative vision of land, ocean, air and digital connectivity. He expressed the government's eagerness to explore partnerships for these projects under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The VIA development project involves expanding the domestic terminal to 35,000 sqm, increasing the hourly passenger capacity from 300 to 2,000, and installing eight gates to enhance service for passengers. The third phase will increase simultaneous aircraft accommodation from 34 to 74, and will replace the existing cargo terminal with a 25,000-sqm facility that can handle 300,000 metric tonnes. Additionally, three water runways will be constructed to accommodate five seaplane operators.

The first phase of the VIA development has already been completed and the government hopes to complete the next phase this year. MACL had earlier said that the development of the VIA would create more than 1,000 new jobs.