Developments in Domestic Connectivity
Being one of the most geographically dispersed island nations on the planet, domestic air connectivity is a key infrastructure component for the Maldives.
Domestic accessibility in terms of air connectivity within the Maldives has significantly improved over the past decade, quadrupling the number of airports compared to the number in 2010. With just five airports (two international and three domestic), the number of airports grew to seventeen by end of 2020. And with the opening of Madivaru Airport in February 2022, the country now has eighteen airports, from which five airports are international and the rest are domestic airports.
Located at Hulhule’, Velana International Airport (VIA) is the main international airport and tourist gateway of the Maldives handling over 3 million passengers. VIA is connected by land to Male’ and Hulhumale’. The airport has two runways, with an international, domestic and a water drome seaplane terminal. The furthest airport from VIA is Gan International airport, the Southern most airport, while the closest is Madivaru Airport located in Lhaviyani Atoll.
There are three airlines operating domestic flights between the islands – Maldivian, the national airline of the Maldives owned by Island Aviation Services Limited; Flyme, owned by Villa Group; and Manta Air, owned by Manta Aviation Private Limited. Further, while all these airlines operate seaplanes to resorts, Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) has a nationwide seaplane connectivity covering majority of the resorts.
International tourism being the major economic sector, improvements on transport connectivity is a necessity to reach and fully unlock the economic growth potential.
Featured Image: Gan International Airport