Billionaire chairman of Indian infrastructure giant GMR, G M Rao, will attend the groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow for the new terminal of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).
President Mohamed Nasheed will also attend the ceremony.
The constructing of the new terminal is the Maldives’ single largest foreign investment. GMR has said it intends to complete the terminal in 2014 and then turn Male’ into one of the top five airports in the 1-5 million passenger category.
The company has meanwhile been upgrading the existing facilities in a ‘throw-away’ refurbishment, including upgrades to the baggage belt and security area, lounges, refurbishment of the domestic terminal, new airline offices and a food court.
The opposition has meanwhile maintained a long-running campaign against the airport redevelopment and the government’s 25 year concession agreement with GMR.
Recent controversy has centred around GMR’s proposed US$25 airport development charge for departing passengers, which was recently overturned by the Civil Court in a suit filed by the Dhivehi Qaumee Party (DQP), and its eviction of the Alpha MVK duty-free shop, a move approved by the High Court that nonetheless led to protests last week.