Maldives unveils major expansion plan for Velana International Airport

Aircraft parked at Velana International Airport at sunset.
Photo Credit: Velana International Airport

In a significant development for the Maldives’ aviation sector, President Mohamed Muizzu has laid out an ambitious vision for the future of Velana International Airport (VIA).

The project’s inauguration, held at the prestigious Dharubaaruge venue in the capital city of Male, marked a historic chapter for the Maldives.

Cabinet Ministers, Parliament members, foreign Ambassadors, company and institution heads, along with MACL senior staff, graced the occasion, emphasizing the significance of this transformative endeavor.

Photo Credit: Velana International Airport

VIA Development Unveiled

The initial phase of VIA’s development is well underway, culminating in the launch of a state-of-the-art terminal later this year, capable of accommodating a staggering 7.3 million passengers.

President Muizzu’s vision, however, transcends the immediate future, with a bold target set at welcoming 25 million passengers over the next two decades.


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Terminal Transformation

Central to this visionary plan is the expansion of VIA’s terminals. A brand-new domestic terminal, designed to handle 2000 passengers per hour, is a notable leap from the current capacity of 300 per hour.

Simultaneously, a dedicated terminal for low-cost carriers, boasting a capacity of 1000 people per hour, is in the works.

Additionally, plans include a seaplane terminal on the nearby Furaanafushi Island, catering to the growing number of operators in the country.

Photo Credit: Velana International Airport

Infrastructure Overhaul

President Muizzu’s vision extends beyond passenger terminals to encompass the critical infrastructure needed to support increased operational capacity.

The fuel farm is set to undergo a remarkable expansion, increasing from 15 million liters to 45 million liters initially and eventually reaching an impressive 100 million liters with the newly unveiled plan.

Cargo handling capacity is not left behind, slated to rise from the recently developed 100 thousand metric tonnes to a staggering 300,000 metric tonnes by the completion of the next phase.

Photo Credit: Dr. Ondřej Havelka (cestovatel), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Elevating Aviation Services at VIA Hub

In line with the expansion, a state-of-the-art Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility adhering to EASA standards is in the pipeline.

The project introduces various new facilities and services, with a key highlight being the establishment of a special economic zone for VIA.

Funadhoo Island is earmarked as a transit hub for VIA passengers, equipped with modern airport services including transit hotels, shopping centers, restaurants, and essential amenities.

The connection between the transit hub and the seaplane terminal island to the main airport will be seamlessly facilitated by a cutting-edge monorail system.

About VIA

Velana International Airport is the main international airport in the Maldives, serving as the primary gateway for tourists visiting this island paradise.

It’s located on Hulhulé Island in the North Malé Atoll, just a short boat ride away from the capital city of Malé.

Originally opened in 1966, the airport was known as Malé International Airport until 2017 when it was rebranded as Velana International Airport, after the family house name of President Ibrahim Nasir.

The airport currently operates a single terminal with modern facilities, including duty-free shops, restaurants, cafes, currency exchange counters, ATMs, and a spa. There are also several car rental companies and tour operators located at the airport.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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