Maldives government on Sunday evening, September 25, signed with India's JMC Projects for the development and expansion of Hanimaadhoo International Airport.
Under the agreement, JMC Projects (India) will redevelop the airport venue to cater for larger commercial planes, and heavier passenger movements.
The project worth MVR 2.1 billion (USD136 million), is considered as the largest such developmental initiatives carried out in the Maldives, outside of Greater Male' region.
The airport redevelopment and expansion will follow through the line of credit established between Maldives government and India's EXIM Bank, earlier in 2019.
Primary project components include development of a new 2,460 meters runway platform, and expansion of the passenger terminal to accommodate 1.3 million travelers annually.
The designs incorporate natural elements abundant to the Maldivian geography.
As per project arrangements, JMC Projects (India) is expected to complete the mega-scale initiative under two years.
Following successful redevelopment, the airport will become a major hub for tourist movement, says Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail. The completed airport will be able to accommodate larger carriers such as the Airbus A320s and Boeing 737 class crafts.
Moreover, in addition to expansion of the airport's facilities, the redevelopment means expansion of the regional gateway's international destination portfolio. Hanimaadhoo International Airport, which currently only connects with India, will establish travel connections with South Asian, Southeast Asian and East African destinations in the prospective future.
Minister Mr. Ismail during Sunday evening's signing ceremony, commented on the vast economic potential the initiative brings. He adds post completion, Hanimaadhoo and the upper-northern area will enjoy significant boost in economic activities.
He also notes this effort echoes the pledges of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who envisioned expanding the region's economic potential. Minister Mr. Ismail further bemoaned lack of international aviation connectivity as a major setback for increase tourist movement in the area.
Speaking further about the project, the minister highlighted on the prospective future for local fishermen hailing from the area. The minister remained hopeful of a possible direct export channel for local fishermen to export their products via Hanimaadhoo airport.
He ensured the mega-scale project will not face interruptions despite a possible regime change in future.