Hanimaadhoo community appeals to the President against allocating land for airport development

Illustration of the proposed Hanimaadhoo International Airport development project | Photo: Indian High Commission

Malé, Maldives – Three local associations from HDh. Hanimaadhoo have requested President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to prevent taking additional land for the development of Hanimaadhoo International Airport as requested by the Planning Ministry.

Head of Hanimaadhoo Council Abdu-Sahthaar Hassan said that any details regarding the land for the airport development cannot be revealed at the moment as it may interfere with the implementation of the project. The council, however, had a meeting regarding the issue last Wednesday and decided to inform Hanimaadhoo citizens about the current plans before replying to the letter from Planning Ministry.

Expressing their concerns over this, three local associations from Hanimaadhoo wrote to the President saying that they are deeply concerned over additional land from Hanimaadhoo being allocated for airport development.

300 families are desperate for housing in [Hanimaadhoo] and are waiting as pledged by [President Solih’s] in his presidential.

Letter to President Solih from Hanimaadhoo associations

The letter stated that the land already decided for the project is also sufficient enough for the development of a huge airport and that while there is a huge lagoon area, taking more land from the residential areas is something that deeply concerns them. They added that the seashore area, allocated for airport development in the current plans, is an important place for their locals as families go out for swims and other activities in the area which is why they are saddened by that area being given for airport development.

The additional land requested for the airport development could be used for a housing project which will be more beneficial for the community.

This is why we request for the airport to be developed within the current boundaries without taking additional land. This is what the citizens of Hanimaadhoo want. Hence, we plead for the request from the Planning Ministry to be overturned and the airport be developed within the current land given.

Letter to President Solih from Hanimaadhoo associations

Hanimaadhoo International Airport is being developed as a main hub of the northern Maldives. The government had previously stated that with the development of Hanimaadhoo International Airport, additional resorts, city hotels and guest houses would also benefit from the new airport.

While the Detailed Project Report (DRP) of Haa Dhaalu Atoll’s Hanimaadhoo International Airport expansion project was done by Airports Authority of India, the project is funded through a USD 800 million Line of Credit from EXIM Bank of India.

AAI had previously stated that the project will support President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s pledge to create 8,000 tourist beds in the north, by encouraging local and foreign investment in tourism, infrastructure, fisheries and other sectors.