The government has added another company to a growing list of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with the creation of Maldives National Air Traffic Service (MNATS), a separate company with the stated intention of strengthening the nation’s air traffic control services. The Air Traffic Control Centre and Control Tower at Velana International Airport (VIA) were previously managed by Maldives Airports Company Limited’s (MACL’s) Air Traffic Management Unit.

Mohammad Akhtar has been named managing director (MD) of the company.

With the establishment of the new SOE, all air traffic services will be transferred from MACL to MNATS.

The number of aircraft leaving, entering, and operating in Maldivian airspace has increased significantly, along with simultaneous flights, due to the increase in airports and seaplane operations nationwide — with over 60 to 70 planes occupying the national airspace at peak times, the government surmised. As such, a separate company for air traffic control has been established to provide this service in a manner that would maintain safety and security as per international standards.

MACL air traffic control staff had recently undertaken the company’s first air traffic control (ATC), radar control and area control surveillance course. A comprehensive eight-week programme designed to empower air traffic control professionals and strengthen the company’s air navigation services, MACL had said in August.

Maldives Airports Company Limited, headquartered in Hulhulé, is the leading airport operator in the Maldives, with the largest international airports in the country under its management. The company is a 100 percent government-owned limited liability company governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the President of the Maldives.