Maamigili Airport returns to international status

Villa Airport, also known as Maamigili Airport, has been upgraded to an international airport just 23 days after it was downgraded to domestic status.

Speaking to local news outlet Vnews, Managing Director of Villa Air Rilwan Shareef said that the airport was downgraded after the government pointed out some security concerns which needed to be addressed by the airport.

“We have been reinstated because we have addressed those issues,” said Shareef.

The downgrading of the airport coincided with Jumhooree Party leader and Villa Group owner Gasim Ibrahim boycotting the committee stage of President Abdulla Yameen’s ambitious special economic zones (SEZ) bill.

After saying that the law would enable the SEZ board “to sell off the entire country in the name of economic zones”, Gasim’s party subsequently issued a three-line whip to its MPs to support the bill.

President Yameen has denied any political motive in the downgrading of the airport stating that, even though Gasim is the biggest business man in the Maldives, “he will be equal before the government in upholding rules”.