The new name of the Maldives main airport, “Velana International Airport”, came into effect as the clock struck midnight on Saturday marking the beginning of the new year 2017.
President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom inaugurated the rebranding of the airport, formerly known as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), at a special ceremony held at 12:00 a.m. on January 1, 2017.
The first flight to land at the newly rebranded Velana International Airport was an aircraft of the archipelago’s national carrier Maldivian, which was greeted with a water salute as it landed after journeying from neighbouring India’s Trivandrum. The New Year and the airport’s rebranding were also celebrated with a fireworks display.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Economic Affairs Mohamed Saeed hailed the main international airport as one of the highest priorities of the Maldives. He praised the efforts of the current president in his role in claiming back the operations of the former INIA, which had been awarded to GMR Group of India during the regime of Former President Mohamed Nasheed.
“In the three years of President Yameen’s government, around MVR 1.3 million has been invested in the airport,” said Minister Saeed as he noted that the ongoing development and expansion project of the airport is one of the largest ventures undertaken by the Maldives to date.
President Yameen had decided to rebrand INIA as Velana International Airport last Monday during a Cabinet meeting, based on the counsel of his Cabinet members.
The initial name of “Hulhule Airport” was first changed to “Male International Airport” in the early 1980’s by Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom. Later on July 26, 2011 the name was changed to Ibrahim Nasir International Airport by Former President Mohamed Nasheed. Hence this is the third official change to the name of the Maldives’ main international airport.
This development focusses on the transformation of the airport in line with the national administration’s economic vision and developments that have been brought about, in addition to symbolising the Maldivian brand.
Noting the vital role played by Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyrikilegefaanu in realizing the airport, the new brand name remains a representation of the former President and Prime Minister, who had been of House Velana.
Currently, the Maldives government is undertaking a huge project to develop and expand the airport which includes the establishment of a new runway and terminal.