The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation has revealed that the government of Maldives would soon decide on the proposal by Villa Group to upgrade Adh. Maamigili airport to an international airport. According to Aishath Nahula, Minister of Transport, upgrading domestic airports to international is wise at this point of time as it would benefit the country and its economy.
Privately owned by Villa Group, Maamigili Airport was upgraded to an international airport in 2013. However, two years later, it was downgraded to a domestic airport following a change in the government. In an interview given to AVAS, Abdulla Nashid, Managing Director of Villa Air said that the airline requested for the upgrading of Maamigili airport and commencement of international flights by the company’s Flyme airline on 09th May 2020.
The discussions with the government have been encouraging. Therefore, we hope we will receive the permit in the near future. We believe this step is necessary for the country and its tourism at this time.”Abdulla Nashid, Managing Director of Villa Air
Nashid stated that the capacity of Maamigili airport has been increased by 200% compared to its capacity in 2013. In addition to the development of an arrival hall, Maamigili airport features a passenger lounge which can cater up to 120 travellers. Comprising the capacity to commence international operations, Nashid said that there would be no setbacks to immediately starting the operations upon receiving the permit.
Transport Minister Aishath Nahula said that Villa Air’s request to upgrade the airport is being assessed by the ministry. According to her, it is likely that the permission will be issued once Maldives’ tourism resumes and that the guideline will be followed in assessing the proposal.
The Villa Group is one of the largest business organisations in Maldives. The company manages five exclusive island resorts, Maamigili domestic airport as well as the domestic airline, Villa Air – Flyme.