Pres: Hanimaadhoo Airport contract oversold by previous govt

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu speaking at the rally held in Haa Dhaalu atoll Hanimaadhoo on February 26, 2024. (Sun Photo/Moosa Nadheem)

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu has revealed the upgrade and expansion project of Hanimaadhoo International Airport was contracted in excess of the actual project value by the previous government, led by former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

While speaking at a rally in Haa Dhaalu atoll Hanimaadhoo, President Dr. Muizzu focused on the importance of the airport development project, highlighting it would enhance the development of 8,000 additional tourist beds in the upper-northern atolls.

President Dr. Muizzu and his entourage are currently visiting the islands of upper-northern atolls; comprising of both Haa Dhaalu and Haa Alifu and Shaviyani.

The airport's contract fell short of developing adequate facilities that would facilitate for the increase in the movement of passengers visiting for potentially new tourist properties in the region.

"While the project is mounted at twice or thrice the actual price, I do not understand the motivations for the previous government on launching the initiative at such a small scale, which is not my policy," President Muizzu said.

He announced the current administration's intention of adding an extra 700 meter to the completed 2.46-kilometer runway.

The airport development project was contracted to India's JMC Projects Limited at a value of USD 136.6 million. The funding for the project was faciliated via the 2019 credit line signed by the Maldives government with India's EXIM Bank.

Speaking about the significance of Hanimaadhoo International Airport, President Dr. Muizzu said sustainable development cannot be achieved without equitable urbanization efforts across the Maldives.

"With that, this airport will transform into one of the busiest and strategically importance locations," Dr. Muizzu added.