Contractors have begun laying the final layer of asphalt at the new runway in Velana International Airport (VIA).
An official of Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) said this aspect of runway will be completed within a month. He added that MACL and the contractors are gearing to conclude the project within the set time.
MACL had previously said the runway will be completed in the last quarter of the year, with the Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed earmarking August as a possible date.
Construction of runway is undertaken by China’s Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG). The project is financed by a US$ 400 million loan taken from China’s Exim Bank. In addition to the runway, construction of fuel farm and a cargo facility are underway. Once completed, the fuel farm can hold 45 million liters of fuel and the cargo facility can house 80,000 tons.
The Government of the Maldives added that if the runway is completed by August, then it can be operational around winter. Several airlines have started routes to the Maldives, in time for the new runway to open up.