Maldives Airport Company Ltd (MACL) has announced that the new runway at Velana International Airport (VIA) has concluded its tarring procedure.
The new runway, which will be capable of catering to Airbus A380 aircrafts, required further construction work on the mid-section but was halted due to the inability to relocate Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA)'s seaplane hangars situated at the aforementioned section. The TMA hangers have now been relocated near the new seaplane terminals of VIA. The cement and sandstone layers had started late last July and were finished during closing week.
According to a tweet by MACL, “Dream come true; New runway mid section's final asphalt layer completed”.
An MACL official said that while the runway's asphalt layer was finished, 70 percent of the area has been marked and that the light installations have all been finished as well.
“We are working to hold test flights on the new runway by early September. We are currently undergoing the last remaining tests of the runway,” the official added.
MACL had previously reported that tarring, fixing of the runway lights and other remaining construction work would be brought to completion by August 30.
The new runway is 3,400 meters in length and 60 meters in width. 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 July.
"Thus far, no airline has requested landing of any Airbus A380s. While the Civil Aviation [Authority] may possess knowledge of interested parties, our company is yet to receive any requests pertaining to these aircrafts," an MACL official had stated last July.
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.