The Privatization and Corporatization Board (PCB), over the past week, appointed two new members to the Director’s Board of Maldives Airports Company (MACL), which operates Velana International Airport.
According to local media Mihaaru, following the removal of former board member Mohamed Abdul Sattar, the state then moved to appoint Mohamed Mihad and Farhana Abdul Ghafoor to the vacant positions.
Mihad was appointed to the board on June 30, while Farhana was was brought onboard this Sunday.
With the addition of Mihad and Farhana, MACL's Board of Directors now consist of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) Gordon Andrew Stuart, Chairman Mohamed Umar Manik, Dr Ibrahim Mahfooz, Ibrahim Noordeen and Fathimath Muaza Ibrahim.
MACL welcomed its newly-appointed Managing Director on June 28, after former MD Adil Moosa tendered his resignation on November 2018. The position was temporarily filled by the company's Deputy Chief Information Technology Officer Moosa Solih, stepping in as acting Managing Director.
Although the travel restrictions in place have meant MACL operations are presently at a low, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has announced that Maldives is set to reopen its borders and resume tourism on July 15.
As with many countries around the world, in the wake of the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, Maldives closed its air and sea borders to tourist arrivals on March 27, having already restricted inter-island and inter-atoll travel.
Just a few months earlier, government projections for tourism were overwhelmingly positive, hoping to reach the two million mark in 2020 and topple 2019’s record of 1.7 million tourist arrivals.
The travel restrictions, implemented as part of Maldives' response to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, have left the country vulnerable to severe economic impacts. Mid-April, World Bank projected that Maldives would be the worst-hit economy in the South Asian region due to the pandemic.
Heavily reliant on tourism for revenue, with the industry momentarily grounded to a halt, Maldives estimates a shortfall of approximately USD 450 million (MVR 6.9 billion) in foreign currency, while projected state deficit would reach MVR 13 billion this year.