Will See Benefits of Gan Airport Once Flights from Africa Begins: Afeef

One of the first investors into the tourism sector in the country, Champa Hussain Afeef has stated that benefits of expanding Gan International Airport will be seen once direct flights begins between Africa and Addu.

Direct flights between Addu and Africa are to start in November this year.

Speaking to local media sources, Afeef said presently flights from most African cities make two stops; first in Johannesburg and then in Dubai. The flight time, he said, now topped over 12 hours, including waiting times.
Starting direct flights, he said, will lessen this waiting time to around seven hours. This, Afeef said, can increase the number of travelers from 9,000 to 18,000.

The increase in number of travelers will show why expanding the airport was a necessary endeavor, Afeef elaborated.

‘Presently, Sri Lankan Airlines operates flights [to Addu]. They bring in the Chinese market as well. Brings in 300 people from each flight. Right now in Addu we have the Equator Village, Shangri-la and Herethere. If they can operate two flights, the whole of Addu will be at full capacity. This is a big opportunity for guesthouses as well,’ he said.

Gan International Airport was developed by the joint initiative of Casa Holdings, Government of Maldives, State Trading Organization (STO) and Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL). Casa Holdings owns 30 percent stake in the initiative, while the Government owns 50 percent stake and MACL and STO with a 10 percent stake each. Under the initiative, the existing runway was expanded by 3,400 meters and 60 meters.

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