A new expanded west apron at the Velena International Airport (VIA) in Maldives has been officially inaugurated, general contractor Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) said.
The expanded apron covers an area of 35,000 square meters and is part of the VIA development project. It was built by BUCG to international standards and can accommodate a maximum of nine code C aircraft.
The inauguration ceremony was held on Thursday and attended by Managing Director and CEO of the Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), the country's state-owned airport operator, Gordon Andrew, and Island Aviation Managing Director Mohamed Mihadh, and Airline Operator Committee Chairman Mahjoob Abdullah.
Gordon said that the apron was constructed close to the domestic terminal, thereby eliminating the need for buses to transport passengers to aircraft. He added that the new apron would be useful in the upcoming tourist season.
"Passengers departing and arriving will see a lot of easements due to this. Moreover, our services will become speedier for sure," Gordon was quoted as saying by the Sun Online.
The first aircraft to park at the newly expanded apron was an Airbus A321 belonging to Maldives' national airline Maldivians. The plane was welcomed with a water salute as it landed on Thursday afternoon.