A tussle for VIA new runway


With the inauguration of Velena International Airport on 6th Oct 2022, everyone grabbed the opportunity of wanting to get credited for the completion of the new runway.

The new runway was built under a China EXIM bank loan of USD 400 million by China’s Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG). The new runway is built to the “Code F” standard for the world’s largest aircraft. The runway was opened on September 5, 2018, by former President Abdulla Yameen. However, scheduled flights did not land at the runway as some work on the runway was still incomplete.

Yameen blows his own trumpet:

Following the opening of the runaway, Yameen spoke at a PPM’s gathering. He reminisced how the opposition at that time tried to sell the nation’s assets, hinting the termination of the GMR contract that he spearheaded which incurred a loss of about $260 million in compensation.

Because the Velena Airport development project was held in high regard by the administration, Yameen’s supporters and PPM congratulated Yameen in bulks, thanking him for the historic gift that he has given to the Maldives.

Meanwhile, there were people who saw faults in the way things were getting hyped from the opposition’s end. They rationalized saying that this indeed was an achievement, that was projected with the help of loans that seemed unfeasible.

Yameen’s Contender Adeeb:

Maldives Third-Way Democrats leader and ex V.P Ahmed Adeeb has not fallen short in making sure that he gets the due credit. In a statement published by them in twitter, MTD claims that the new runway at VIA was a project formulated under the leadership of then Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb during the administration of Former President Dr. Mohamed Waheed.

They have accused Yameen of trying to steal the limelight all for himself, while twitching facts from the history.

VIA was returned to Maldivians during former President Waheed’s administration. Discussions were also held with Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) to develop the airport in a timely manner. Bugg of China arrived in the Maldives on the invitation of Adeeb to build the second runway, fuel farm, air cargo terminal and seaplane terminal at the airport. Adeeb is the national leader who worked for the future of the country, while Yameen attended parties and played cards, the statement said.

The MTD also alleges that former parliamentary vice-president Ahmed Nazim can testify that President Yameen met GMR officials in Singapore in secret at the time and tried to raise money for the campaign. This would mean that Yameen’s revelation about GMR issue was all false and because he couldn’t get the money, he terminated the contract because of his personal feuds.