ATR Aircraft, Urban Isle, First Tourist

Thursday, January 5

Construction of an airport terminal in Raa Alifushi was inaugurated. The MVR451 million (US$29 million) airport project involves reclaiming 50.5 hectares of land to double the size of the island, according to the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company.

Thursday, January 5

The Housing Development Corporation invited expressions of interest to develop guesthouses on 15 plots under its ‘Urban Isle’ tourism island project.

The state-owned company is seeking investors to build luxury villas, serviced apartments and midscale hotels in a designated zone in the artificial island’s phase two area.

“The island welcomes every type of traveler, from international and domestic visitors, to budget travelers and those seeking an extravagant stay,” the HDC explained. “The properties are positioned to offer short-term stays for transit purposes, as well as long-term stays for residents and digital nomads.”

The health ministry awarded an MVR193 million (US$12 million) project to build a 30-bed hospital in Noonu Kendhikulhudhoo to SAS e Construction. The hospital along with accommodation and service buildings is to be completed in 18 months with contractor financing. The Bank of Maldives is the project financier, according to the health ministry.

Wednesday, January 4

National carrier Maldivian welcomed its two new ATR 72-600 aircraft with a water salute ceremony at the Velana International Airport.

The maintenance cost of the 72-seat fuel-efficient planes will be 20% lower than previous aircraft used by the company, according to Maldivian. The airline’s fleet is expected to grow to 14 with the arrival of a new 42-seat ATR aircraft later this month.

Wednesday, January 4

Local fuel supplier Hawks opened a new self-service petrol shed in Hulhumalé with automated vehicle washing and a convenience store.

Sunday, January 1

The first tourist visitor of 2023 was welcomed with a special ceremony at the Velana International Airport.

Nikolai Stratichuk from Russia, who arrived on an Etihad Airways flight around 6:05 a.m with his family, was gifted a five-night stay at Reethi Faru Resort.

A total of 1,675,294 tourists visited the Maldives in 2022, exceeding the government’s optimistic forecast for the year.

Some 22,297 holidaymakers visited during the first four days of 2023, up 7% from the same period last year. Russia and Italy were the top source markets.

Sunday, January 1

The Maldives Ports Limited slashed export container transfer tariffs by 74% in a bid to help local producers to compete in international markets.

With effect on 1 January, the transfer fee of a 20-feet container was reduced from MVR4,700 (US$304) to MVR1,222. The cost for 40-feet containers was down from MVR9,327 to MVR2,445.

Ahead of the changes, MPL CEO Shahid Ali met with fish exporters to discuss the revisions as well as their concerns.