From A Small Strip Of Land To Becoming The Main International Getaway To The Maldives; A 55 Year Journey Still Continuing!

Today, Velana International Airport is proudly celebrating its 55th anniversary. The airport first started out as a small strip of land on the then inhabited island of Hulhulé. On 19th October 1960 Velana International Airport saw its bold beginning by its first aircraft which landed on the slotted steel runway - a Royal New Zealand Air Force transport plane. The first commercial aircraft was an Air Ceylon plane that landed on 10th April 1962.

In 1964, the Government of Maldives decided to replace the slotted steel runway with an improved asphalt runway measuring in 45 x 2840 meters. With the newly completed runway, ‘Hulhule Airport’ was duly opened on 12th April 1966.

When the tourism boom in the Maldives began in the 1970s, the country was in dire need of an international standard airport with the increasing passenger flow. To provide a better system of air traffic, with an improved infrastructure, ‘Male’ International Airport’ was inaugurated on 11th November 1981.

Over the years many improvements have taken place with the infrastructure and technological advances. Fifty-five years later, the airport is well connected with major airports around the world, mostly serving as the main gateway into the Maldives for tourists. At present, the airport has three terminals: the International Terminal, the Domestic Terminal and the waterdrome Seaplane Terminal – complemented by two asphalt runaway and 4 water runways.

On the occasion of the airport’s 55th anniversary, a special flag hoisting ceremony was held at the airport earlier this morning. The ceremony was concluded with a special player along with ceremonial cake cut.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) – the operator of the airport – highlighted what is down the road of the future for the airport. Accordingly, they are targeting to complete the world’s biggest seaplane terminal in the airport this year. He also points out a modern VIP/CIP Terminal, new Aprons, new Runway, new Cargo Terminal and early next year a new Fuel Farm – all which together will improve the services offered to their customers by landslides and on the way to world class service. 

(Photos: MACL)