The Regional Airports authority of the Maldives on Sunday revealed that development of the Kaadedhoo airport in the southern Gaafu Dhaal atoll will be costly, as major construction works at the airport are yet to commence.
The director general of Regional Airports, which oversees the development of domestic airports in the county, Sami Agil told Mihaaru that the construction work on major development projects such as the renovation of the runway has not yet begun.
“There is a lot of work left to do to develop [this] airport. One of the most important things right now is constructing the runway,” Agil said.
Whilst Regional Airports’ director revealed that development of the Kaadedhoo airport would be expensive, he had not specified the approximate cost of renationalising the airport.
Meanwhile, the MVR 493 million supplementary budget that the parliament passed on Thursday, allocated MVR 40 million to the Regional Airports to oversee the development of the Kaadedhoo airport, which the government overtook from now-opposition Jumhoory Party (JP)’s leader Qasim Ibrahim’s Villa Group earlier this year.
The appellate court in February allowed for the government takeover of Kaadedhoo Airport after overturning a stay order issued by the Civil Court to halt the seizure of the airport leased to Qasim, on the grounds that it would cause “irreparable damage” to the opposition leader’s company if the 50-year lease agreement was terminated abruptly.
The Kaadedhoo Airport was leased to the Villa Group on November 2013; however, after JP withdrew from the ruling coalition and aligned with the opposition, the government in 2014, attempted to seize the airport from the opposition leader’s company.
The government has also announced that it would be building an airport in Kulhudhuffushi in the northern Haa Dhaal atoll after reclaiming parts of the island’s mangrove area. The announcement had sparked a public outcry as the area is listed as a ‘environment sensitive area’ due to its unique environmental features.