Minister of State for Transport and Civil Aviation Ahmed Adil, on Tuesday, declared that construction work on the halted airport development project in Kulhudhiffushi, Haa Dhaalu Atoll, will recommence under a new contractor.
Adil stated that the project, initially contracted to Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC), was awarded to another company because of an extended delay in construction. He stated that work on the terminal is scheduled to begin in the upcoming week.
The state minister revealed that there were certain difficulties in resuming construction as a result of the manner in which earlier phases of the project had been conducted by the previous government. He confirmed that the new contractor is working to identify such difficulties.
Refuting public speculations that the airport development project would not continue due to the long hiatus in any construction work, Adil assured that work was already underway.
It is estimated that it will take a four-month period for construction to conclude. However, Adil highlighted that other arrangements needed to be finalised before Kulhudhuffishi airport can begin operations.
Compensation for the 18 houses demolished to construct the runway still remains pending. One of the families has also lodged a case at court, claiming that the amount provided was unsatisfactory, therefore court proceedings must also be concluded.
So far, the only completed aspect of the project, which necessitated the reclamation of six hectares of the island’s western lagoon and nine hectares of its mangrove swamp, is the 1.2 km runway.
The domestic airport was inaugurated by former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom on September 22, 2018, after he flew in aboard the first aircraft that landed at Kulhudhuffushi. Following this, only one plane landed at the airport. As a result of stalled progress, locals began utilizing the runway as a jogging track.
The current administration has allocated MVR 5.7 million for the Kulhidhuffushi development project in the 2019 State Budget.