The new runway under construction at Velana International Airport (VIA) will be opened in 2019, and workers are currently involved in the last phase of work for the runway, says Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL).
The runway project is worth USD 400 million and includes construction of a new runway, fuel farm, cargo complex and land reclamation.
In an exclusive interview to “Sun”, Managing Director of MACL, Adil Moosa said the runway project is nearly complete.
“One of the fastest paced components of the runway project underway is the construction of the runway. Work on the fuel farm and cargo complex is also underway, in addition to construction of the runway,” said Adil.
“All layers of the tarmac for the runway is now nearly complete. The last of the work is being carried out now. Work on markings for the runway and light fixtures is being carried out.”
Adil said the target of MACL is to complete all construction work for the runway before end of this August and start test flights in early September.
“There are many things which need to be done before the runway can be used. First of all, we need to ensure it meets the ECOA guideline and complete flight collaboration. We need to run related navigational tests. There are many things which need to be done in relation to this. It usually takes about three months for all the tests and flight collaboration for a runway of this size at an international airport. The runway can only be used on a regular basis after all this,” said Adil.
Adil said he expects an overall ease in operations at VIA with the new runway.
“There’s currently only a single runway. So we face inconveniences such as being unable to land flights and having to hold flights on the ground.”
Adil said that one the new runway is complete, the current runway will be used as a taxiway, solving the issue of delays during disembarkation.
He said that all components of the runway project will be completed and usable by 2019.
The new runway is 3.4 kilometers long and 60 meters wide. The new runway will be able to accommodate the largest A380 wide body aircrafts with ease.
Construction of the runway is contracted to Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) of China.