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Airport operations will not be handed to foreign companies: Planning Minister

Shahudha Mohamed
25 November 2019, MVT 20:12
Minister of National Planning and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
25 November 2019, MVT 20:12

Minister of National Planning and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam declared on Monday that there were no plans to hand over the operations of Maldivian airports to any foreign companies.

Answering a question posed by Manadhoo MP Haaroon Rasheed during Monday's parliament session, Aslam stated that some Maldivians have expressed concerns over foreign involvement in Maldivian airports, citing this as a reason for not handing airport operations to foreign companies.

"Our final decision was that we do not want to hand over the operations of any airport to a foreign party", Aslam said.

However, he stated that the current policy may change with the situation of the country.

"This is the policy that works in this situation".

Aslam further confirmed that Maafaru International Airport in Noonu Atoll will be operated by Island Aviation Services Ltd (IAS).

Velana International Airport (VIA) was handed over to India's GMR Group while Aslam was the Minister of Housing in former President Mohamed Nasheed's administration. At the time, however, the government came under fire from the then-opposition for this decision.

After Nasheed's fall from power, his Vice President Mohamed Waheed assumed office and terminated the agreement with GMR Group.

Following the conclusion of the case submitted to Singapore International Arbitration Centre by GMR, former President Abdulla Yameen's Abdul Gayoom's government paid a compensation fee of USD 217 million (MVR 4 billion) to the company for terminating the agreement.

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