New runway at VIA to be operational in 2nd quarter

Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) has revealed that the new runway developed at the country's main airport will be operational this year.

General Manager of MACL, Hassan Areef on Monday said the company hopes to conclude work on the new seaplane terminal being developed at Velana International Airport during the second quarter of the current year. The new runway will be opened after the seaplane terminal is operational, and the buildings of seaplane operator Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) is relocated, said Areef.

MACL said the delays in flight movements and the space constraints at the airport will be resolved with the operation of the new runway.

The new runway was opened on September 5, 2018, during the tenure of former president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom just ahead of the 2018 presidential elections. Although the airport was opened with an A380 flight of Etihad Airways landing on the new runway, the runway has not been used since then as other work required at the runway remained incomplete. However, all work has now been completed.

The new runway was funded under a US$ 373 million loan granted by China EXIM Bank and it was constructed by Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG), renowned for carrying out such projects. The runway has a length of 3400 meters and is 60 meters wide.