Work on the 1,200-metre section of the planned 2,460-metre runway at Hanimaadhoo International Airport has been completed and officially gone into operation, with the inaugural flight touching down on the runway this morning, Regional Airports Company Limited (RACL) has confirmed.

Ahmed Mubeen, the Managing Director of RACL, and Ali Saleem, the Deputy Managing Director of Island Aviation, were on board the inaugural flight, which saw the section of the runway go into official service, RACL said.

Mubeen speaks with representatives of the project contractor at the inauguration of the new 1,200-metre runway section at Hanimaadhoo International Airport on Sunday, 28 January 2024.

Mubeen, at the commemoration event, lent his assurance that developments at the airport were on schedule and that, with the project continuing on schedule, the full 2,460 metres of the runway would come into operation by March this year.

The 1,200-meter section that became operational today comes complete with landing lights already installed, making night landing and operations possible, RACL said.

Mubeen inspects the runway lights at Hanimaadhoo International Airport.

Saleem, while speaking at the inauguration, confirmed that, with the current upgrades, Maldivian would soon resume flights to India, which had previously been suspended.

Work on the runway is going ahead in three phases, with a view to continuing upgrades without interruptions to flights, RACL said.

The RACL team surveys ongoing work at Hanimaadhoo International Airport.

The old runway will now be demolished as work on the next two phases ramps up, the company said, going on to highlight that once the project is complete, the airport will be able to accommodate Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft, welcome up to 1.3 million passengers a year at the new airport terminal, and establish a fuel storage facility onsite.