VIA’s second phase inaugurated: 25m passengers, terminals for jets and low-cost carriers
President Mohamed Muizzu on Thursday launched the second phase of the development of Maldives’ main Velana International Airport (VIA) and economic zone to cater to 25 million passengers.
Speaking at the function held at Dharubaaruge Thursday evening, the president stated that the project embodies the aspirations of every Maldivian citizen. He emphasised that this development phase would run simultaneously with the previous one, increasing the original capacity objective of 7 million to 25 million passengers following completion.
The president declared that the initial phase of the project would commence within the year, with most of the works scheduled for completion within the five-year tenure, with significant developments completed within the next ten years.
President Muizzu launched the initial phase of the project on Thursday, marking the commencement of the relocation works of the seaplane terminal, initiating the development of the domestic terminal to serve 2,000 passengers per hour, improving cargo facilities, relocating the fuel storage facility out of Funadhoo Island, and repurposing the island to develop as an international financial hub.
Furthermore, the president emphasised the future development prospects of connecting Funadhoo, Male, and Hulhule via a bridge and Hulhule and Hulhumale to the seaplane terminal.
Highlighting the ongoing nature of the airport’s expansion, Ibrahim Shareef, Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), emphasised that the bulk of the work under the ongoing first phase is set for completion by the year’s end.
Highlights of the second phase:
- The further expansion under the second phase is slated to generate an additional 25% in airport employment, offering approximately 1,000 new job openings.
- The international terminal, presently under construction, aims to accommodate 7 million passengers annually. President Muizzu’s envisioned upgrades aim to elevate this figure to 25 million, catering to 4,000 passengers per hour.
- Plans include enhancing the domestic terminal’s capacity from handling 300 to 2,000 domestic passengers per hour
- Establishment of a dedicated low-cost terminal for budget airlines, capable of serving 1,000 passengers per hour.
- Relocation of the existing seaplane terminal to Funadhoo island.
- Establishment of a Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) facility
- Increased cargo terminal capacity of 3,000 metric tonnes.
- Parking capabilities are set to expand, allowing accommodation for up to 70 aircraft simultaneously.
- Shareef underscored the lack of a dedicated terminal for the airport’s 2,000 annual private jet users, a gap that the ongoing second phase aims to fill by introducing a specialised jet terminal.