After a cabinet meeting held on 26th December 2016, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom made the decision to rebrand Ibrahim Nasir International Airport to Velana International Airport. In order to focus on the transformation of the airport in line with the Administration’s economic vision, the decision was made after consulting with the cabinet members.
At a ceremony held at Hulhulé on 31st December 2016, President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom inaugurated Velana International Airport. In the event, Minister of Economic Development, Mohamed Saeed handed over the Aerodrome license of Velana International Airport to the Maldives Airports Company Limited by the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority. During the ceremony the President lit the signboard of Velana International Airport to make the change official.
With the rebranding, the airport’s name has changed to “Velana International Airport”. While concise, “Velana” is also a reference to former Prime Minister, Sumuvvul Ameer Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyrikilegefaanu.
When Ibrahim Nasir International Airport was first developed in pursuant to a deceleration on 1st May 1964, it had been an essential element to developing and strengthening several key foreign relations as well as enhancing the country’s economy. The Prime Minister Sumuvvul Ameer Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyrikilegefaanu played a critical role in realizing the airport, along with support and involvement of the public.
With the airport recently being leased, it had cost the Maldives a great sum. The impending decline has been avoided with legal complications and the control of the nation’s most important airport has been restored and with plans in favor of national improvements.
The airport is undergoing a lot of enhancements and expansions in line with President Yameen’s vision. These improvements are meant to reinvigorate the nation’s economy; similar to the economic transformation brought about by the initial development of 1964. When the transformation is complete, the tourism industry in Maldives I said to see significant growth and at the same time would work towards being recognized as a major hub for distance travel.
As of 1st January 2017, the name change of INIA to Velana International Airport came into effect. Maldivian Airlines was the first flight to touch down at the Airport.