Abu Dhabi extends $50m to develop Maldives airport
Abu Dhabi Fund for Development's concessionary loan will reportedly help build new and expand existing facilities at the Velana International Airport in Male
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has extended $50m (AED183.7m) in development aid to build the Velana International Airport in the Maldives.
ADFD's concessionary loan to the Maldivian government will help build a passenger terminal and a maintenance building, in addition to supporting the completion of Phase 1 works for the airport's southern terminal.
Additionally, the loan covers expansion works for Phase 1 of the cargo loading and storage areas that span 6,000m2; relocation activities for existing infrastructure outside the project area; and the construction of private jet facilities, a civil defence station, and a mosque.
A 3,400m runway is also being built as part of the Male project.
Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, the director-general of ADFD, said the organisation has contributed more than $29.7m (AED109m) to the construction of infrastructure, telecommunications, transport, housing, and energy projects in the Maldives, over the last four decades.
He added: "This new collaboration further solidifies the strong and close bilateral ties shared between the UAE and the Maldives.
"Our loan aims to promote socio-economic development in the Maldives through upgrading the airport’s facilities and expanding its operating capacity to 26 aircraft in order to cope with the steady growth of the tourism sector."
The development would also create jobs and reduce unemployment in the country, Al Suwaidi pointed out.
According to the UAE's state news agency, WAM, the loan agreement was formalised in the presence of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, during the official visit of Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, the President of the Maldives.