Velana International Airport (VIA) has officially opened and started operating its new runway completed in 2018 with the major VIA development project commenced during the previous administration, spearheaded by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Qayyoom.
Although its first test flights landed in 2018, to mark the commencement of its operations, the runway welcomed its first official flight, an Emirates flight from Dubai.
The runway, with the capacity to accomodate the likes of A380 model flights, had remained idle for the past 4 years without operations and the government asserted that the delay was on account of the old seaplane terminal next to the new runway.
The new seaplane terminal by the name of “Noovilu Seaplane Terminal” was also inaugurated this morning during a special ceremony attended by the Vice President of the Maldives, Faisal Naseem, Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL)’s Chairman, MU Hassan Manik and Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives, Wang Lixin among others.
The operation of this seaplane terminal was also pushed back years after its completion due to the government’s tactical approach to the project and which drew much public criticism.
Both of these were spinoffs of the VIA development project spearheaded by the Yameen administration. Although the first phase of the project has mostly been completed, the second phase of the project is going forward at a snail’s pace.
With the operations of the new runway, the old runway will be used as a taxiway to park flights as necessary.