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  • Writer's pictureAvaitors Maldives

With New USD 600 Million Thinadhoo Airport Project, What’s Next For Kaadedhdhoo Airport ?

The government of Maldives has formalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pan Pacific Company Limited, a Thailand-based firm. This MoU, endorsed by Minister Muththalib and Pan Pacific’s CEO Jirat Petnunthawong, signifies the initiation of the Thinadhoo International Airport project situated in the Gaafu Dhaalu atoll.

This grand venture, announced during President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s latest island visit, involves the establishment of a four-kilometer runway, terminals for both international and domestic passengers, and a seaplane terminal, along with all the essential amenities of an international airport.

The project also includes the creation of a high-end resort and a yacht marina, pushing the total expenditure to a staggering $600 million.

Kaadedhdhoo Airport:

In the wake of these developments, the future of Kaadedhdhoo Airport (KDM) is under scrutiny. Situated a mere 4km north of Thinadhoo island, Kaadedhdhoo Airport is among the longest-serving airports in the Maldives. At present, only the national airline, Maldivian, maintains regular flights to KDM.

Over the years, only the national carrier has been able to sustain ongoing operations to the airport, as private carriers have discontinued services due to limited route profitability. With the recent inauguration of two additional airports in Huvadhoo Atoll, which only diverted traffic that was previously directed to Kaadehdhoo and Kooddoo Airport, the future of Kaadehdhoo Airport is uncertain. Its close proximity to the new airport raises concerns about its potential to be eclipsed.

Moreover, the impact of this new development on the local economy and the tourism industry is yet to be seen. The construction of the new airport and the associated facilities is expected to create jobs and attract more tourists to the region.

However since the beginning of tourism in the Maldives Velana International Airport has been the only gateway to the Maldives despite the presence of other international Airport’s notably much older Gan International Airport which at present has just one international airline operating flights.

The emergence of new international airports necessitates significant changes and heralds a new era of transportation in the Maldives. To accommodate international airline operations at these upcoming airports, a comprehensive transformation of the transportation infrastructure is required.

It is of utmost importance for the government and all stakeholders to take these factors into account and make well-informed decisions regarding the entire project. The decisions made will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the local community, the aviation industry, and the overall economy of the Maldives.

Pan Pacific Company:

Additionally, concerns have been raised about the capacity of Pan Pacific Company to undertake such a large-scale project. The company’s business registration suggests its involvement in the wholesale clothing industry, and there is scant public information available about its corporate profile.

Furthermore, details about Jirat Petnunthawong, who represented the company in the agreement signing, are not publicly accessible. This lack of information about Pan Pacific Company’s past engagements in major projects has led to questions about its technical prowess and capability to execute a project of this magnitude.

Nonetheless, the final contract for the project will be awarded only after a comprehensive assessment of the contractor’s technical and financial competencies. As stated by Minister Dr. Abdulla Muththalib, the investing company will shoulder the entire cost of the project, in return for the development rights to 12 resorts.



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