Singapore firm to advise on airport expansion

A Singapore-based consultancy is to advise the Maldives Airports Company on the long-awaited expansion of the country’s main international airport.

Surbana International Consultants will provide management consultancy services and a design and engineering review for the proposed redesign of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport on Hulhule’ island near Male’.

Plans for the renovations include a new international terminal building, runway, cargo terminal and taxiway expansions and new fuel firm.

Airport capacity will increase to 7 million international passengers and 1.5 million domestic passenger movements from the current 2.3 million after the renovations, said a joint statement from the two companies.

The government had previously signed a separate consultancy agreement with Singapore’s Changi International Airport to advise on the renewal and expansion of the airport terminal.

President Abdulla Yameen last month held talks with Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Fund about low-interest loans for the project, appearing to have scrapped previous plans to seek aUS$600million loan from China and Japan.

The expansion project is estimated to cost US$ 845 million, including improvements to shore protection of the airport island, new seaplane facilities and existing runway re-surfacing.

Economic Development Minister Mohamed Saeed previously said the runway expansion project had been awarded to Chinese Beijing Urban Construction Group, while the development of the airport terminal was awarded to Japanese Taisei Corporation.

The airport redevelopment project has been beset by problems and delays. In 2012, the government abruptly cancelled a concession agreement with the GMR-Malaysia Airports (GMR-MAHB) consortium to manage and upgrade the airport.