Work on 1,200 metres of the planned 2,460-metre runway at Hanimaadhoo International Airport will be completed in January 2024, Regional Airports Company Limited (RACL) has said. Once completed, the runway will be opened for use after the necessary permits are obtained, the company said.

According to RACL, once the 1,200-metre runway is completed and night landing facilities are established, the airport will be capable of round-the-clock operations. The entire 2,460-meter runway is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2024.

The project, which involves major upgrades, will be carried out without a complete closure of the airport at any point, the regional airports operator said. Runway works will be divided into three segments to ensure that the services provided by RACL and the airport continue without interruption.

The project, financed with a loan from the Exim Bank of India, commenced in January 2023 as a major undertaking, and includes the construction of a new 2,460-meter runway and a terminal with a capacity of 1.3 million passengers per year. Other facilities needed to expand international flights will also be established through the project.

Once the project is complete, the airport will be able to accommodate Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft for international operations, according to RACL. The increased flights have the potential to ignite greater economic activity in the Thiladhunmathi region, including, but not limited to, tourism, the company said, adding that job opportunities and the availability of beds in guest houses, city hotels, and resorts are expected to increase.