The Ministry of Economic Development has revealed that a special ceremony will be held this month to inaugurate the Hanimaadhoo International Airport Development Project.
The ministry stated that the project is currently in the design and survey stage and that workers are clearing the site. The development of Hanimaadhoo International Airport is one of the largest projects being conducted to develop the northernmost region of the Maldives.
The project to redevelop Hanimaadhoo Airport was awarded to India-based JMC Projects Limited in September 2022 at a cost of USD136 million. The project is being funded by loan assistance from the EXIM Bank of India and includes major infrastructure and operational upgrades and building infrastructure to meet the future growth of traffic to the Maldives. It includes developing a 2.46km runway to enable larger aircraft such as Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s to land at the airport. It also includes the construction of a modern terminal to accommodate 1.3 million passengers annually, as well as the construction of a cargo terminal, fuel farms, and a fire station.
The government has stated the completion of the project will result in an increase in tourist arrivals in the northern atolls, which will result in more job opportunities and benefit local businesses. The government stated that one of the biggest challenges facing the development of tourism in the north of Maldives is the lack of direct flights to the region carrying tourists from all over the world and the high cost of transportation required to visit the region.
The government has expressed the belief that the completion of the Hanimaadhoo International Airport Development Project will greatly facilitate the expansion of tourism by increasing the number of resorts, city hotels, and guesthouses. The project is expected to increase business and employment opportunities in the northern provinces. The development of Hanimaadhoo International Airport will also play an important role in implementing the government's plans to establish a modern maritime hub in the north of the country that will provide services to large cargo ships travelling along the main shipping routes of the world.
Hanimaadhoo International Airport is located on the island of Hanimaadhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll. The airport was upgraded in 2012 to cater to international flights.