The redevelopment of the Hanimaadhoo International Airport, a key project in the government’s strategy to revitalise tourism and economic growth in the northern Bodu Thiladhunmathi region, is on track for completion by March 2025, Ahmed Mubeen, Managing Director of the Regional Airports Company Ltd. (RACL), has revealed.

The project include a new 2,465-metre runway capable of accommodating Airbus A320 aircraft. The runway’s operational debut is slated for post-Eid al-Adha holidays, following the successful activation of its initial 1,200-metre section earlier in January.

Initiated by the previous Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)-led government, the project aims to fortify the tourism sector and broader economic prospects in the region. “We are developing an airport terminal that can cater to 1.5 million tourists per year,” Mubeen highlighted in a televised interview, underscoring the project’s scale and ambition.

With all infrastructure development anticipated to conclude before the end of this year, the project’s first phase is poised to significantly enhance the region’s accessibility and appeal to international visitors. Mubeen revealed ongoing collaborations with the Tourism Ministry to streamline travel for tourists heading to the northern resorts, offering a direct route to Hanimaadhoo International Airport as a more cost-effective alternative to the current necessity of landing at Velana International Airport (VIA) and then taking a seaplane.

The project’s second phase, which includes the development of a seaplane terminal, promises further enhancements to the tourist experience. This addition will facilitate direct transfers from Hanimaadhoo International Airport to the tourist resorts in the region, a move that RACL believes will not only elevate the convenience for travellers but also significantly boost tourism in the northern Maldives.