Etihad's A380 lands with Maldives national football team on new runway of VIA

Etihad's A380 makes the first ever heavy class airplane landing in Maldives on the newly developed runway slip at Velana International Airport on Tuesday afternoon.

Piloted by Ali Ahsan, one of the few Maldivian pilots commandeering an A380 made successful landing at the new code-F runway around 16:00hrs on Tuesday afternoon.

On board the A380 the recently crowned SAFF Suzuki Cup champions, Maldives national football team made local history as the first Maldivians to travel by an A380 and make their landing on the new runway.

Prior to landing the official permission for the A380 to make its landing was granted by Maldives president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom who attended the special ceremony to welcome the national football team.

Before landing Etihad's A380 made a round trip across Maldives capital Male' City at an altitude between 1,000 to 1,500 feet.

The new VIA runway was developed under China's Axim Bank loan of USD373 million, and the project was handled by China's Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG).

Maldives international airport's new runway spans 3,400 feet in length 60 meters in width with a tarmac thickness of 200 milimeters; specifically designed for heavy-grade airplanes to make landing.

The Maldives national football team is expected to travel in-land to Male' City via Sinamale' Bridge which connects directly to Hulhule'; venue of Velana International Airport (VIA).