Airport architect releases further images of planned development

Airport architecture and engineering firm ADPI has unveiled new images of the design for Male’ International Airport, which is being developed by Indian infrastructure giant GMR.

The existing terminal is being upgraded before the construction of a new terminal on the opposite side of the island of Hulhule, which the developer has pledged to complete in 2014.

As well as being a visually dramatic structure on the skyline, the new airport will include various sustainability initiatives such as seawater air-conditioning.

Artist's impression of the exterior

Ultimately the development will involve 45,000 square metres of new terminal, repair and expansion of the runway, parking and taxiing space, and a turning point so more flights can be landed in the space of an hour.

The infrastructure giant’s ‘brownfields’ approach – refurbishing an active airport, as opposed to a ‘greenfields’ or ‘from scratch’ project – mirrors that of its much larger airport development in Dehli. The old terminal was upgraded prior to the opening of the new one last week, which is now expected to cater to 90 percent of the airport’s passengers, with capacity of 34 million per annum upgradable to 100 million.

At over US$400 million the project is the largest single foreign investment ever made in the Maldives and has run into political controversy, including persistent allegations from opposition parties that there was corruption in the bidding process, and several referrals to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

“There has been no formal communication [with the ACC], and we are extremely confident of standing up to any scrutiny because of the way the bid was scrutinised by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC),” CEO Andrew Harrison told Minivan News in an interview in March, setting a target for the completion of the refurbishment in October.

The refurbishment is “essentially throw-away” considering it will have  less than a three year lifespan until the new terminal is completed in 2014, Harrison told Minivan News at the time, but will include a food court and a raised ceiling in arrivals so tourists can see the sea as they emerge from the gate.

Besides ongoing upgrade work and staff training exercises, recent developments include the signing of a US$140 million contract with the State Trading Organisation (STO) to supply fuel, switching the contract over from Dubai-based Galana Petroleum.

More recently, the government announced that the airport was to be renamed after former President Ibrahim Nasir, who ordered its construction during his rule.

A map of the redevelopment, due 2014

25 thoughts on “Airport architect releases further images of planned development”

  1. May be its me. I do not want GMR to do anything in Maldives. They should NEVER be allowed to do anything more that what is agreed between them and the government. It would be best if they can be chucked out. The sooner the better.

  2. This crazy as the original engineers did not spend any time in The Maldives and did not factor in any weather or seas when they designed the Terminal Building on the Eastern side of Hulule island.
    This is not the GMR Engineers but the people who came in before the tender.

    They did not consider that the current entrance to the island is being sheltered by the island of Funadhoo, when it is the Monsoon and that is why the current entrance has been in use for more than 50 years at least. The they did not realise that in Maldives, you do not construct important facilities on the windward side of the island(the futtaru).
    If there is even a minor Tsunami the whole of the new Terminal Complex and all would be washed away as there is no gap or reef to protect the new proposed buildings.
    Now they are trying to get all the Ferry Dhonis from Male to go around the island and use the Hulumale entrance. This would make the trip into almost 25 minutes instead of the current 8 minutes.
    Then all the dhonis and all the seaplanes would have to use a small stretch of water.
    Furthermore, this design picture they show is wrong and does not fit into the actual realities on the ground.
    This whole thing is utter madness.

  3. I will be very proud of my country if we have a airport like this

  4. The most important seaplane terminals have apparently been forgotten in the plans of a new plans, or where are they supposed to be?

  5. Itz only those few crooks or BIG-SHOTS that belong to the world-famous Silent Dictator who are opposing the country's development projects not the real Maldivian people.

    As we all know all the people other than the tycoons of the former regime are waiting to see the country like a democratic country...for example, cost of living shall match with our income before we are proud of our democracy...I think the President is now working for that

  6. The design is a big joke, it shows only 5 Aerobridges, even now we have 5-7 airbus and Boeing aircrafts parked at the same time, and even after 20years planned for 5 passenger aircraft parking, it's q big joke and does not make any home GMR India needs lots of infrastructure development. GO now.

  7. I hope that the Environment Protection Authority Points out any environmental issues like wrong entrance points to harbors. I love the idea of sea water cooling which will cut their carbon emissions significantly and hope they use lots of Renewable Energy.

  8. 1 - Why do I see only two taxiways into the runway, in the redesigned model, while the old design has 5?

    2 - I thought there were talks on a STOL runway across or beside the main runway.

  9. Oh, now Minivannews is the marketing agent of GMR? Anyone can generate computer graphix man....The whole thing is a scam.

  10. [email protected] hey man you truly a versatile “Ronuedhuru”; I suppose the architects will have some of data on weather conditions for certain periods.
    GMR this is playing gimmicks and tricks t to deceive Maldivians. It is all pipe dreams! Cause their plans and counter plans will never be realized. This is how Indian business is conducted. We will always have the existing terminal; maybe the Indians will do some renovation job.

  11. @Manik, "in Maldives, you do not construct important facilities on the windward side of the island(the futtaru)".
    Okay, so where does that leave Hulhumalé which apears to have been built exactly on that side of the existing "airport" island?

  12. nonsence. I was at Male international airport upgrading project phase IV. The plans that were submitted and the plans that were approved and many years has it been since? 9 o architect must be realy old and wise. takes 10 years to design......woooo coooooll niiiiice

  13. it is not a greenfield site, therefore the approach cannot be a greenfield approach, that would not only be stupid, but impossible.

    i also do not think the architects would be the ones to release the plans of a particular development project. the firm had published these images on the design firms website months earlier as to advertise works they have done.

    this appears to be just a concept, to sell the idea, it is highly unlikely that it is based on any real assessment

  14. The concept designs were published on IDA (Intergrated Design Associates Ltd) website. GMR appears to be a big client of theirs, they aslo developed a concept for GMR for Hanimadhoo. the firm specialises in some very cool designs for competitions with a lot of wow factor, but what actually gets build, we shall have to see!

    ADPI is one of the worlds leading architectural and engineering firms (so it says on their website), but no mention of Hulhule airport.

    minivan should state their sources correct their misinformation

  15. there were two designs done by both companies... hehe no wonder people are confused.....there is a massive campaign from GMR to brand it "carbon nutral" etc etc, to justify their ammended proposal, which effectively takes over all of the airport and extends their business into housing and massive shopping complexes...probably takes over whole of Hulhumale too....and still plans to tax all maldivians 25 dollars.

    "The materials that have gone into making this amazing airport are sustainable - for instance, the inner face of the roof is lined with bamboo - which is grown locally and is used in Maldivian architecture."

    yes, very well researched; id like to get me some bamboo, to build my traditional home, would minivan please direct me to the bamboo fields pls?

  16. Hassan, I know that they did not look at any weather data.
    This is not GMR that designed the original design with the Terminal in the East but was done by a company called HAELCO. GMR is just following what was offered in the tender.
    Postance, the front of Hulumale is facing West and not towards East.

  17. without going into details of the concept plan, i would say GMR has the capacity to build us an airport that we will be proud of. We have had our chance to develop it and had not done anything for decades. we really need a decent airport and this is the best chance we will ever for the details, maybe GMR needs to have the users like the air taxi operators more engaged in the development...

  18. I am without job and a place to sleep can minivan tells me how to get proper paying job.

  19. @ JJ Robinson, are you pulling are let man? You from a cultured well fed society making fun of Allah believing heathens. That’s how your god fearing PARSONS describe us when they deliver sermons on Sunday morning church assembly.

  20. moosa, 2 points, having a worl class airport is less important than maintaining a country's sovereignty, secondly, seeing is believing, india has no interet in developing male airport, but every interets in sitting on it while developing bangalore and trivandrum airports. they do have an interets however to develop the housing and shopping, hotels, they are proposing now

  21. Moosa, I agree that we did not develop the airport at all when we had the chance. The problem is that there were better companies than GMR to develop the airport but the government for some reason decided to give it to them.
    The plans were however not GMRs, but the consulting company used by the Government.

  22. I just have few questions;
    Where is the 2nd runway? I see no new runways and has the existing one been widened and lengthened here for bigger planes? Will sea-planes and passenger boats use the same jetty? From the images it seem so. How on earth can that be possible? In the rainy season can customers reach the terminal from the boats dry? What will happen to newly opened sea-plane terminals? What will happen to old terminal? Is it IDA or ADPI the design firm?


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