One of the biggest criticisms received on the Maldives tourism industry is the underdeveloped international airport in the country. Even though the Maldives accommodates millions of tourists every year, many complain that the Maldives airports are not properly developed to accommodate the numbers, often time leaving guests waiting in long queues while on vacation.
In order to resolve these issues in the main airport of the Maldives, Velana International airport has been under an expansion project since 2016, with the results of the project showing as late as 2022. Under this project, a new seaplane terminal was inaugurated under the name ‘Noovilu’ seaplane terminal, to accommodate the increasing number of seaplanes that are helping to connect guests to the beautiful resorts of the Maldives. In addition to this, a new passenger terminal, as well as a new fuel farm, are also part of the developments.
With the expansion project of Velana International Airport (VIA) finally showing progress, an agreement has also been signed on 5th March 2023 to develop and expand Gan International Airport, at the southern most atoll, Addu. For a total cost of USD 29.7 million, the project was awarded to the Indian company, Renaatus Projects Pvt Ltd.
Under this project, the company will develop a passenger terminal with a capacity of serving 1.5 million passengers annually, duty-free shops, restaurants and lounges, cold storage and cargo facilities, a control tower, a fire station as well as roads and parking zones.
This project is being funded under a line of credit by Indian Exim Bank and is expected to improve the tourism industry in the Gan region. In addition to the development and expansion of the airport to accommodate more tourists, plans are underway to develop a 130-room hotel and 50 boutique rooms, which will undoubtedly boost the local economy.