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New runway to be completed end of August: MACL

Lujine Rasheed
26 July 2018, MVT 09:41
MACL's new runway nears completition, gearing up for test runs in August before official opening end of the month. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Lujine Rasheed
26 July 2018, MVT 09:41

Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) has declared that the new runway at Velana International Airport (VIA) will come to completion by August 30, 2018.

The new runway, which will be capable of catering to Airbus A380 aircrafts, still requires further construction work on the mid-section.

The setback in construction has been attributed to a pressing need to transfer the seaplane hangar elsewhere. However, the new hangar structure located near the seaplane terminal, has now been completed. Transfer of aircrafts is expected to materialize within the coming week.

Remaining construction for the mid-section of the runway also commenced In the previous week,

According to an official statement from MACL, the construction work can be completed within a period of 20 days.

"The construction of the runway has been ongoing for 24 hours, uninterrupted. With the completion of the construction of the middle section, we will be able to connect the old and new runways," said the official.

The MACL official also reported that tarring, fixing of the runway lights and other remaining construction work would be brought to completion by August 30.

Test flights are expected to start landing on the runway by this September.

"Access to the runway will be granted following the successful landings of several test flights. Hence, a specific date for the runway to be made open for use has not yet been finalized," said the official.

The tarring of the southern section of the new runway was completed at the end of June, while tarring of the northern section was finished last week.

This new runway is 3,400 meters in length and 60 meters in width.

Although the runway is designed to give access to Airbus A380 aircrafts, MACL reports that it has not received any requests concerning the landing of such an airbus.

"Thus far, no airline has requested landing of any Airbus A380s. While Civil Aviation [Authority] may possess knowledge of interested parties, our company is yet to receive any requests pertaining to these aircrafts."

The construction of the new runway is aided by China's 'Exim Bank' under a project carried out in partnership with China's Beijing Urban Construction (BUC), via a loan of USD 400 million. In addition to the new runway, plans are underway for a fuel farm catering to 45 million litres as well as a cargo facility of 80,000 tonnes.

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