October 6th marks the official opening of the new runway at Velana International Airport (VIA). Under Abdulla Yameen’s administration, the former president of the Maldives, one of the key components of the airport redevelopment was the tarmac. The Maldives Vice President Faisal Naseem officiated the inaugural ceremony for the airport’s new establishments.
The runway operations were pushed back as the old seaplane terminal operations were relocated next to the new runway. Initially, the runway was supposed to be operational starting in 2018, under the former president’s administration.
The entire expansion and redevelopment project of the airport was funded through a China EXIM Bank loan with China Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) hired for installing the new tarmac. The project was awarded to BUCG for 452 million back in 2015.
Following the inauguration MACL Chairman Mohamed Umar Manik gave his confirmation on the unprecedented additional costs and also confirmed the installation of the new hydro-drainage and other state-of-the-art equipment.
With the new tarmac runway being 3,400 meters long and 60 meters wide, it will be able to accommodate larger commercial vessels such as the Airbus A380s. Manik further stated that the future for VIA is bright while mentioning the new state-of-the-art cargo complex under construction.