Additional counters set up at VIA to ease load

Fourteen additional counters have been set up at Velana International Airport (VIA) due to the high number of tourist arrivals.

The counters set up at the International Passenger Terminal were opened by Tourism Minister Ali Waheed on Wednesday, accompanied by Acting Managing Director of VIA Moosa Solih.

Addressing at the ceremony, Solih said the new counters were setup under efforts undertaken to expand the International Passenger Terminal.

"We opened these [counters] to ease the current load. It is estimated that the international passengers will increase seven fold within the next year", said Solih.

With the newly opened 14 counters, the total number of counters operated in the international terminal has now reached 42.

The government is implementing a billion dollar project to develop Velana International Airport. Under the project, an international passenger terminal will be established, in addition to a fuel farm and cargo terminal. A new runway was built under the project last year, and a sea plane terminal is also being constructed. The project,which has been handed over to Saudi Arabia's Bin Laden Company is expected to be completed within two years.