Chinese investment to help triple Maldives airport capacity

Updated: 2015-02-27 10:16


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COLOMBO -- Chinese investment is expected to help triple passenger handling capacity of the Maldives international airport with the addition of a new runway, an official said on Thursday.

Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed said efforts were underway under the direct supervision of President Abdulla Yameen to secure financing for the projects.

"The previous development concept was only for the development of the terminal," says Saeed.

"But now we are talking of a whole new airport. We are going to build a second runway. President Yameen wants to build a second runway."

After presenting a conceptual video of the airport depicting the envisioned developments, Saeed said the government targets to complete a large portion of the project by 2017.

"We estimate that MACL (Maldives Airports Company Ltd) will earn $410 million in revenue in 2017 as a result of the redevelopment," Saeed explained, adding that the income would be unprecedented in the government-owned company's history.

Under the new master plan, Saeed said the project for the second runway has been awarded to Chinese Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG), which has since submitted BOQ (bill of quantities) and designs to the Chinese Exim Bank.

The project, to be financed by a concessionary loan, also involves building a fuel farm and expanding the cargo terminal as well as the runway apron.

The development of the airport terminal was awarded to Japanese Taisei Corporation and is to be financed by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Saeed added.

In December, MACL signed an agreement with Singapore's Changi Airports International for consultancy in the development and expansion of INIA.

The estimated cost of the projects is $845 million, Saeed continued, which includes improvements to the shore protection of Hulhule Island, new seaplane facilities, new hangars, nine aero bridges, existing runway resurfacing and the relocation and demolition of existing facilities at the airport.

Chinese investment will also fund a new bridge to connect the airport island to capital Male. Work on the bridge is expected to begin later this year.