Transport Minister Dr Ahmed Shamheed today revealed that the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) operator GMR, India has proposed a new runway for the airport.
Speaking to Haveeru, Shamheed detailed that GMR has proposed to construct a taxi way to be utilized as a full runway. He added that GMR has also proposed to dig up and repair the existing runway at INIA.
“GMR’s proposed digging the existing runway by two feet and relay it with tar. In addition the company has also proposed to construct a new taxi way. MACL (Maldives Airports Company Limited) will make the decision to facilitate it within the contract,” Shamheed explained.
Minister further said that once the new taxi way is operation the two runways can be used simultaneously which would be useful during an emergency.
“Even last year the airport had to be shut down for seven hours after an Emirates flight got stuck. But we do not have the equipment to tow a plan during such an incident. It won’t be easy to bring in such equipment from abroad. So once a taxi way is built, we won’t have to shut down the airport when an incident like that happens,” Shamheed said.
Transport Minister also said that GMR’s refusal to accept the government’s proposal for a new runway was the primary reason behind the halt of construction work on the new terminal. On that note he added that the GMR’s proposals need to be considered and a decision made on the matter.
“Government really wants a new runway. So now there’s no reason to deny permission as that has now been agreed to. The necessary permits to run the airport must be given by civil aviation. So as the company has now proposed to do so, we will recognize it,” Minister stated.
Civil Aviation Authority last August had ordered the halt of the construction of the new terminal as GMR had failed to obtain prior approval, according to the Authority.