Malé, Maldives – Minister of Economic Development, Fayyaz Ismail has said that the government is working on awarding the Gan International Aiport project to a party before the end of 2021.
Speaking on Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) virtual campaign event “Rahvehi Fathis” held last night with the candidates who were applying for the Addu City council in the upcoming local council elections, Minister Fayyaz stated that the feasibility report of the airport development will be completed by end of March 2021.
He also added that after the feasibility study is done by the Indian consultants, the government is working on to award the development contract of the airport to a developer before the end of 2021.
Minister Fayyaz stated that developing Gan International Airport run by Addu International Airports company was crucial in strengthening the economy of the area and that it’ll make Addu City the economic hub of the region.
With the development of the airport, the number of beds in the region will also increase. We believe that private sector will invest in this. Increased number of beds would directly result in the success of the airportMinister of Economic Development, Fayyaz Ismail
He also told that the government is planning to add 4,000 tourist beds in Addu City by developing Hankede and Savaahili islands as integrated tourism facilities and that planning and securing finance for both projects is ongoing now.
Minister Fayyaz further added that the government will have SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) to invest in agriculture and fisheries industry development in Addu and Fuvahmulah combined.
While government has made various promises to develop Addu International Airport, no substantial work has been carried out so far. The last project announced for the Addu International Airport which was to connect Huvadhoo Atoll and Addu City via seaplanes had not materialized until date.
Managing Director of Addu International Airport, Qais Naseer had previously told that the necessary preparations required to begin seaplane operations between Addu and Huvadhoo are underway in full speed and that the flights are scheduled to start in November, 2020.
The agreement to start seaplane operations between Addu City and Huvadhoo atoll was signed between Maldivian and Addu International Airports Company Limited, on 5th October, 2020.
The agreement signing ceremony, which was held at Gan International Airport, was attended by Tourism Minister of Maldives Dr. Abdullah Mausoom, Economic Minister Ismail Fayyaz, Parliament Members representing Addu and Huvadhoo constituencies, as well as representatives of Addu City Council.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Mausoom said that the government is doing a lot to develop the tourism industry in the northern and southern region of the country and that the agreement signed to commence sea plane operations between these two atolls is “a new move towards making the business formula successful”.
Speaking further on the matter, highlighting the lack of bed capacity in the region, Minister Mausoom said that even at present, there are more than 2,400 beds which are yet to open in the region and that this is not an adequate number for international flights to operate. He explained that an additional 6,000 beds would be required to make the investment feasible.
However, given the situation some sacrificed need to be made, and that sacrifice is being made by the government, said the Minister. “The decision being made today is whether flights will not be operated until the 6,000 bed capacity is ensured, or whether flights will be operated until the 6,000 bed quota is met, or whether it would be done either way with losses shared by the companies.” Minister Mausoom stated on October 5, 2020.