“Govt seized domestic airport amidst plans for USD 200 mln investment”

Jumhoory Party leader Gasim Ibrahim (C) greets president Yameen. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Jumhoory Party leader Gasim Ibrahim (C) greets president Yameen. MIHAARU FILE PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

Chairman of Villa Group Qasim Ibrahim declared on Thursday that the government has seized Kaadehdhoo Domestic Airport from Villa Air company while it was headed towards a major investment.

Speaking to Mihaaru on the matter, Qasim Ibrahim said that the decision has caused a huge loss to the company, stating that the Civil Aviation Authority’s declaration that certain aspects of the airport’s management violated the authoritys regulations are not entirely right.

“We have corrected the things mentioned in the last Audit Report of Civil Aviation within the given time. The only thing incomplete mentioned in that report is our bringing in a fire truck. But we have even paid for the vehicle,” said Qasim.

In addition to this, the company was also bringing new generators and a scan machine to the airport before the state terminated the contract with Villa Air.

According to Qasim, the airport was headed to an investment worth USD 200 million to convert it to an international Airport. Moreover, a team has recently looked into the airport to consider financing the project while an area of 2.8 hectares is planned to be reclaimed for the project.

Furthermore, Qasim highlighted that the government has still not fulfilled its promise to give the company an island to compensate for the losses caused in 2013.

“Due to that, we have incurred damages worth MVR 60 million. We are saddened that despite several efforts, the government is unable to fulfill its commitment.”

Qasim accepted that the airport was changed to a domestic airport in 2016 with the consent of Villa. However, it was due to the high expense of running two international airports, he said.

He added that he has brought the issue to the president’s attention via a text message. Hence, the president has asked to present the related documents to the Aviation audit.

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