President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has expressed his deep appreciation and gratitude to Velana International Airport (VIA) staff, commending the exemplary services provided during the Covid-19 pandemic. He made the remarks this evening while touring the airport and sites of the VIA development project.

During the visit, President Solih met senior officials of Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), Maldives Customs Service and Maldives Immigration, inquiring about their operations. He discussed with them ways of enhancing the services further and resolving the challenges facing the operation.

Speaking to them, President Solih recognised the hard work they put in to ensure seamless operations, especially in preparation for the reopening of our international borders. Applauding the work being done during tourism’s peak season, the President denotes their accomplishments compared to the previous year.

During President Solih’s visit to VIA, he also inspected the progress of the fuel farm, cargo terminal, VIP building and seaplane terminal. The VIA development project entails a broad array of infrastructure development and service improvements; expansion of the fuel storage capacity would see jet fuel (Jet A-1) storage increased from 15 million to 45 million litres, petrol to 100,000 litres, and diesel to a million litres – a modern fuel hydrant system would also replace fuel bowsers currently in operation.

The project also encompasses the expansion of the cargo terminal, with additional storage and other peripheral equipment to streamline its services, extending the current yearly handling capacity of 50,000 tonnes to 120,000 tonnes. Concurrently, renovation of the apron is underway, following the relocation of operations to the new apron. The project would see parking space extended to 212,000 square metres from the previous 86,000 square metres.

Other components of the project include developing the VIP and CIP lounges and expanding the 26,000 square metre passenger terminal to 78,000 square metres, while the development of a new seaplane terminal is 99 per cent complete. The project is worth approximately US$1.2 billion.