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Villingili International Airport contracted to Belgian company NV Besix SA

A Belgium company has been contracted to built the Villingili International Airport on Thursday in a ceremony in Gaafu Alifu Villingili. The project also includes development of an integrated tourism zone, inclusive of 17 resorts.

Aishath Shuba Solih
23 February 2024, MVT 12:59
Ga. Vilin'gili airport design
Aishath Shuba Solih
23 February 2024, MVT 12:59

The construction of Gaafu Alifu atoll Villingili airport has been contracted to the Belgian company, NV Besix SA.

Building an international airport in the ruling island of Gaafu Alifu Atoll, Villingili was a pledge made by President Dr Mohamed Muizzu during his presidential campaign.

At the ceremony held for the President to address the residential community of Gaafu Alifu Villingili during the president’s first official trip to the southernmost four atolls in the country, the design for the project was shared and the MoU was signed between the government and the NV Besix SA company.

The memorandum of understanding for the project of Villingili International Airport was signed by Construction and Infrastructure Minister, Dr Abdulla Muththalib on behalf of the government while the Business Development Manager of NV Besix SA, Servè Dolmans signed on behalf of the contractor.

Signing of agreement to assign the construction of Vilin'gili International Airport to contractor

This project that includes the airport is anticipated to be constructed to an attractive design, and also includes investments for the development of an integrated tourism zone in the atoll. The video presentation presented by the government reveals that this is USD 500-750 million investment.

At this ceremony, renowned businessman who is also the Principal Advisor to the President on Trade and Investment, Mohamed Ali Janah, who spearheaded the contract, said that building an international airport in Villingili is a dream of the president. He further assured that this project will transform the whole atoll’s economy.

Janah shared that the airport runway will extend to 3,400 meters in size. A heliport and marina is additionally determined to be included in this project. Furthermore, Janah assured that 5,000 beds will be produced with 17 resorts being developed in order to expand the tourism industry within the area.

Accrediting the contractor’s capabilities, Janah remarked that the company is the 44th largest company in the construction industry worldwide. He assured that the company is more than capable of leading this project.

Signing of agreement to assign the construction of Vilin'gili International Airport to contractor -- Photo: President's Office

“Last year, the company’s turnover was USD 3.6 billion. As such, this company will be able to do it,” Janah said.

The atoll has a domestic airport in Villingili's neighboring island, Kooddoo. However, the President had highlighted the need for an international airport in the atoll during his campaign as it is his vision to expand tourism within Huvadhoo atoll.

The President’s vision at the time was to transport the Kooddoo airport into a training facility.

Earlier, during his previous campaign trip to Gaaf Dhaalu atoll, the President had said that the Gaafu Dhaalu atoll Kaadehdhoo airport will also be transformed into an international airport during his administration.

As for the Villingili International Airport, the President said that land would need to be reclaimed to implement this project. Highlighting that this is a large scale project, the President said that the reclaimed land will also have dedicated areas allocated for issuing land plots for residential purposes in an effort to assist in finding a solution to the housing issues faced in the island.