Supreme Court orders Kaadedhdhoo airport to be returned to Villa

Leader of Jumhooree Party and member of Maamigili Constituency, Qasim Ibrahim | Photo: Nishan Ali

Male’, Maldives —The Supreme Court has announced that the government had unjustly abolished the agreement made with Villa Air to operate Kaadedhdhoo airport and has ordered the airport to be given back to Villa.

An agreement was signed between the government and Villa on 2013 which states that Villa, owned by the President of Political Jumhoori Party, Ibrahim Qasim, will be operating the Kaadedhdhoo airport for the upcoming 50 years. However, On 2017, during the presidency of Yameen Abdul Gayyoom, the agreement was abolished by saying that the aiport was being operated against the Civil Aviation Authorities guidelines.

When Villa Air accused the government of the unjust act, both the High Court and Civil Court vindicated that the agreement was in fact abolished unjustly and that Villa Air must get the airport back. The Courts agreed that Villa has the right to procure the losses they had to suffer from losing the agreement.

When the state appealed this matter at the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court sentenced that although the Civil Aviation Authority had given Villa Air the task to amend some things related to the Kaadedhdhoo airport, the authority did not ask to stop operating the airport and that even after the inspection, the Civil Aviation Authority had renewed the license to operate the airport.

The verdict read that although the state presented a Maldivian Company Assessment Report to prove that that the airport was being operated against the guidelines of Civil Aviation Authority, nothing was proved based on that report.

This is because the court believes that the document is not enough to prove a statement considering that Villa Air is against accepting that report as Maldivian is a competitor of Villa Air and as the people who made the report were not presented and questioned regarding the report.

In addition to this, the verdict by the Court also stated that the seriousness of the statements in the report from Maldivian is in question as flights of Maldivian had landed at the Kaadedhdhoo airport even after the report was made.

The Supreme Court supported the decisions made by the High Court and Civil Court and stated that they do not believe that there is any reason to change the decisions provided by the courts and that the Kaadedhdhoo airport should be given back to Villa to operate.

Kaadedhdhoo airport is currently being operated under Regional Airports Company Limited, a 100% Maldives Government owned entity established on September, 2020 by the President of Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.