One of the biggest issues that is faced by travellers who are coming into the dreamy destination of the Maldives is the time spent at the airport. While there are some amazing airports around the globe such as the Changi airport in Singapore that visitors treat as their first stop when sightseeing in the country; when it comes to the Maldives, the time spent at the airport has always been seen as a hassle that comes before unveiling the beautiful destination.
Though Maldives has held its popularity among travellers from all around the globe since the start of its tourism industry, the long wait and queues in the small passenger terminal became a major issue as the popularity of the destination increased. In order to bring some resolution to this problem, plans were made to bring about some major developments to the airport.
With this, in 2016, the biggest development project was signed between the Government of the Maldives and the Saudi Bin Laden Group (SBG), named the ‘VIA Development Project’. The airport development project was budgeted with a total of USD 800 million in order to construct a new passenger terminal and facilitate the expansion of the airport to cater to seven million passengers annually while also including plans to convert the international terminal into a part of the domestic terminal and construct a new code F runway which is projected to be wider, longer and capable of landing an A380.
While the development project was to be completed by 2018, due to several difficulties there were major stepbacks and delays in the completion of the project.
And now, after really slow progress, especially on the passenger terminal aspect of the project, people are finally able to see some major developments in the passenger terminal of Velana International Airport (VIA). Though the terminal was set to be completed in 2018, after much delay and stepbacks, the airport is now set to complete the project by 2025, as the developments are finally seen progressing.
“Work on the structure is now going very fast. Now the roof is finished. The internal works are also going on. The work is going very fast now. Most of the interior work that needs to be done inside will take time. The outer parts are then over” – Shamran Shakir, MACL Manager Corporate Communications.
These new developments, which can be seen to the public now come after the design of the new terminal was showcased to the public as late as 20th April 2022. The terminal design is largely inspired by the aspects of the Maldives and its surroundings with some parts symbolizing the waves and various design aspects taken from 'Maldivian' designs.