The Airports Authority of India, on Wednesday, commenced work on the Detailed Project Report (DRP) of Haa Dhaalu Atoll's Hanimaadhoo International Airport expansion project.
Funded by a USD 800 million Line of Credit from EXIM Bank of India, the work on the project is expected to begin in early 2021, following the conclusion of the DRP within two months, preparation of tender documents and selecting the contractor.
Regarding the project, a high-level delegation from the AAI visited Maldives this week and held meetings with Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail and members of Parliament representing constituencies in the north.
They also visited Hinmaadhoo for initial surveys and assessments in addition to sitting down with high-level officials from the Economic Ministry and the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.
Hanimadhoo's airport expansion, considered one of the largest infrastructure and connectivity projects in the northern Maldives, includes the upgrade of terminals, fuel farms and fire station, as well as the extension of the runway to 2200 meters, allowing accommodation of A320s and Boeing 737s.
Moreover, AAI noted that the project will support President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's pledge to create 8,000 tourist beds in the north, by encouraging local and foreign investment in tourism, infrastructure, fisheries and other sectors.
In addition to the airport expansion, six more projects are being undertaken by the USD 800 million Line of Credit, including Addu's roads and reclamation project, developing Gulhifalhu port, building a cricket stadium and cancer hospital in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale', expanding Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO)'s facilities and establishing water and sewerage networks on 34 islands.
The Indian government also extended another Line of Credit worth USD 400 million, as well as a grant of MVR 100 million, for the Greater Male' Connectivity Project (GMCP) which will see construction of a bridge and causeway network connecting capital Male' to Villimale', Gulhifalhu and Thilafushi.