Hanimaadhoo Airport will be run by the Maldives Government: Minister Fayyaz

Illustration of the proposed Hanimaadhoo International Airport development project | Photo: Economic Ministry

Malé, Maldives – Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail said that although the Hanimaadhoo Airport is currently being developed under a line of credit from the Indian Exim Bank, the airport will be run by the Maldivian Government or an SOE assigned by the government.

The statement from Minister Fayyaz comes admist public outcry over the new amendments made to the Foreign Direct Investment Policy yesterday, allowing foreign companies to take 100 percent control over, and run Maldivian airports.

Minister Fayyaz tweeted saying that although the airport is being developed under a line if credit from Indian Exim Bank, the ownership and management of the airport will be carried out by the Maldivian Government or an assigned SOE.

While the Planning Ministry requested to increase the land allocated for the airport development by 853,937 square feet, 3 associations from the island appealed to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih requesting to overturn the decision as that land in residential areas could be used for a more beneficial purpose.

The amendment to the FDI policy yesterday, added to the existing concerns of Hanimaadhoo citizens as it gives foreign companies to take 100 percent control over the airport.

Hanimaadhoo citizens have now started an online petition in the name of ‘Save Hanimaadhoo’ which has received 214 signatures so far. A Facebook group was also created for the same purpose, asking locals for their opinion. A poll created five days ago show 207 signatures against the current government plan and 17 signatures for it.

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.