Maldives will have 21 airports by the end of the next five years, says Minister of Tourism and Deputy Leader of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Moosa Zameer.
Speaking during the inauguration of Dhaalu Airport at DH. Kudahuvadhoo this Wednesday morning, Minister Zameer said it was the aim of the current administration to ensure every Maldivian island was 30-minutes away from an airport.
Zameer said the administration planned on building nine new airports within the next five years. He said the airports would be built with a special focus on quality and longevity. He said the airports would sustainably benefit the country’s tourism industry.
“I’m confident that by the end of the next five years, Maldives will have 15 airports with 1.2-kilometer operational runways. And six Category C 1.8-kilometer airports,” said Zameer.
Maldives currently has 12 airports - including four international airports, with construction of more airports underway.
Zameer said building more airports would open Maldives to low-cost tourism, and that it would be beneficial to the tourism industry of the country.
He said it was the tourism industry which was the biggest help to paying the USD 1 billion loan for Velana International Airport. He said building more airports would speed up the repayment process.
Zameer said Dhaalu Airport was a shining example of the difference between foreign investors and local investors.
“We are witnessing the difference between foreign investors and local investors. When Maldivians do something, they do it very well, keeping in mind it should remain standing for a long time,” said Zameer.
He said his comments were in no way a slight to foreign investors. But that he was simply saying it as how it was.
“A 1.8-kilometer runway can be built for about MVR 15 million. But as far as I know, this place was built very specifically at the cost of approximately 25 million,” said Zameer, gesturing towards the Dhaalu Airport.
Dhaalu Airport – the biggest domestic airport in the country – was inaugurated by President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. The airport was built by It was built by Dhaalu Airport Holdings – a subsidiary of Royal Investment.