Discussions are underway with the resort operator of Furanafushi Island, North Malé Atoll, regarding the relocation of the seaplane terminal to the island, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Mohamed Saeed has revealed.

Furanafushi Island is currently home to the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa. The relocation of the seaplane terminal is a crucial component of the Velana International Airport (VIA) expansion plan, which aims to increase the airport’s capacity to 25 million passengers annually—a substantial increase from the current capacity.

The Mohamed Muizzu administration unveiled the 20-year VIA expansion master plan in January. Speaking with the public service broadcaster, Minister Saeed stated that VIA’s Noovilu Seaplane Terminal will be repurposed as a private jet terminal as part of the new master plan. “The airport expansion master plan will see an expansion of services to 4,000 passengers every hour, as well as an expansion of the land area of the airport,” he said.

The new seaplane terminal on Furanafushi Island is proposed to feature three water runways and facilities to accommodate five seaplane operators. The proposed domestic terminal will have the capacity to accommodate 2,000 passengers per hour, according to the minister. The apron at VIA will be expanded from the current 34 to accommodate 74 aircraft, significantly enhancing the airport’s operational capacity.

The economic development minister also revealed plans to expand the fuel farm at VIA and establish the latest and most modern aircraft fuelling mechanisms at the main airport. The airport expansion work is progressing significantly, with the new passenger terminal expected to be opened by September this year, he added. The second phase of the VIP terminal is also close to completion.

The relocation of the seaplane terminal to Furanafushi Island is a significant step in the VIA expansion plan to enhance the airport’s capacity and services to meet the growing demand for air travel in the Maldives.