• 06
  • Feb 2020
  • February 06, 2020
  •   Travel Connection

It has been reported by Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) that the newly constructed runway at the Velana International Airport (VIA) in Male, Maldives will be open for services throughout 2020. 

The runway was envisioned and put together with the assistance of USD 373 million loan from Exim Bank of China by Beijing Urban Construction Group. It was opened originally back in September 2018, but only once for a landing of an Etihad Airways flight. Afterwards, it was sealed down to continue further renovations. The runway is capable to accommodate Airbus A380s and test flights were also conducted during 2018.

MACL’s General Manager Hassan Areef broke the news that utilizing the newly developed runway within 2020 was a plan in progress. He stated that with only one operational runway at VIA Maldives, it becomes problematic to get the domestic flights on right schedule. Due to single runway at Male International Airport, the airline officials have to circle around to avoid sky traffic which in turns adds up the fuel cost and also leads to flight delays. With accelerating tourist visits each year to Maldives, there was an urgent need for a new runway. Just last week, VIA Maldives broke its previous record of flights and runway movements with 252 runway and 559 seaplane movements.

Opening of this new runway will certainly aid in managing more number of flights in less time. Also, the current runway is going to be used as a taxiway once the new one goes into business. Pioneering the runway will also help boost Maldives’ tourism and economy.

Three regional airports set to be made public in 2020!

Apart from the new runway at VIA Maldives, the island nation is all set to open three regional airports early this year as reported by Transport Minister, Aishath Nahula. These recent airports would be G.Dh. Maavarulu airport, Sh. Funadhoo airport and Lh. Madivaru airport. Among these, Funadhoo airport is expected to open in January while G.Dh. Maavarulu in March and Madivaru in coming month. It was also stated by the minister that H.A. Hoarafushi airport is also to be opened by August this year and the airport in H.Dh. Kulhudufushhi and Hanimaadhoo will also be advanced in 2020.

She affirmed that upgrading the airports will take the airport operations and services to a new level. The minister also expressed that the delays in airport was because of the problem in getting trained staff for the airport services. Certainly the opening of these new and advanced airport will be a great step ahead in raising the tourism sector in Maldives!

Tourism boom in 2019! Indians leading Maldives tourism market!!

Maldives is undoubtedly one of the most sought after travel destinations for people around the world and 2019 was also the same with increasing travellers especially from the Indian subcontinent. Recently, the Tourism Ministry published the tourism statistics of the island that reflected increased Indian visitors as the most progressing market in 2019! According to the statistics from Maldives immigration registered Tourism Facilities, around 166,015 Indians visited Maldives in 2019 which shows an increase of 83.5 percent compared to last year!!! 2019 made India the second biggest market for Maldives from fifth spot with 9.7 percent of total tourist arrival, after China which has the highest tourist visitors. This increase is said to be because of more number of airlines like GoAir, Air India, Spice Jet etc. and also the cordial relations between India and Maldives. 

China being the pioneer in number of visitors holds a market share of 16 percent, followed by India with 9.7 percent, Italy with 8 percent, Germany has 7.7 percent and UK with 7.4 percent. Maximum tourists arrived from Europe with a share of 49 percent, 41 percent from Asia and just 5 percent from American continent.

As per the tourism ministry of Maldives, 2019 was a fruitful year in terms of tourist arrivals as it recorded an increase of 14.7 percent from 2018. With arrival of 1.7 million tourists by December, 31, 2019; Ali Waheed, Tourism minister of Maldives expressed that with proper execution of government policies and strategic plan the number will increase even more in 2020.

With more number of airports and tourist arrivals, 2020 is going to be a rewarding year for Maldives as a travel hub!!!

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