Ibrahim Nasir International Airport

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Ibrahim Nasir
International Airport

އިބްރާހިމް ނާސިރު ބައިނަލްއަޤުވާމީ ވައިގެބަނދަރު
Malé im Landeanflug.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Government of Maldives
Operator Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL)[1]
Serves Malé, Maldives
Location Hulhulé Island
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 6 ft / 2 m
Coordinates 04°11′30″N 073°31′44″E / 4.19167°N 73.52889°E / 4.19167; 73.52889Coordinates: 04°11′30″N 073°31′44″E / 4.19167°N 73.52889°E / 4.19167; 73.52889
Website macl.aero
MLE is located in Maldives
Location in Maldives
Direction Length Surface
m ft
18/36 3,200 10,499 Asphalt
Source: DAFIF[2][3]

Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (IATA: MLEICAO: VRMM), more commonly known as Malé International Airport, previously known as Hulhulé Airport, is the main international airport in the Maldives. It is located on Hulhulé Island in the North Malé Atoll, nearby the capital island Malé.

Today, Ibrahim Nasir International is well connected with major airports around the world, mostly serving as the main gateway into the Maldives for tourists. Moreover, despite the upgrading of Gan Airport to international standard, Ibrahim Nasir International is currently the only internationally active airport in the country.

The airport opened to the public on 12 April 1966. Later, the airport underwent renovation and upgrading to international standard, inaugurating its new name on 11 November 1981. It was managed financially and administratively by an independent corporate entity known as Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL), which is 100% owned by Government of Maldives and is governed by a board of directors appointed by the President. The Government of Maldives appointed International Financial Corporation (IFC), Washington – an arm of World Bank – as the Lead Transaction Advisor to manage and run the Bidding process for concession of the Malé International Airport. In a competitive bidding process run by IFC, more than 10 international investors participated. Based on the legal, technical and financial evaluation of the bids received, a consortium of GMR Group, India & Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAHB) was awarded the concession.[4] On 25 November 2010, MACL officially handed over the aerodrome license of the then Malé International Airport to the newly formed GMR Male International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (GMIAL)–the project company to which the rights of the GMR-MAHB consortium with respect to rehabilitation, expansion, modernisation, operation and maintenance agreement relating to Male' International Airport were novated to.[5][6][7]

On 26 July 2011, Male' International Airport was officially renamed as 'Ibrahim Nasir International Airport' in memory of Ibrahim Nasir, 2nd President of the Maldives. He is known for initiating the airport in 1960.


Hulhulé Airport[edit]

Ibrahim Nasir International first started out as a small strip of land in the then inhabited island of Hulhulé. Hulhulé Airport was opened on 19 October 1960. The first runway built on Hulhulé Island was made of slotted steel sheets. The dimension of this runway was 75 x 3000 feet. The first aircraft, which landed at the airport, was a Royal New Zealand Air Force Transport plane on 19 October 1960 at 13:55hrs. The first commercial flight was an Air Ceylon flight (4R0ACJ) landed on this runway was at 15:50hrs on 10 April 1962. The first aircraft owned by the Maldives landed on the runway of the Hulhulé Airport on 9 October 1974.[8]

New runway[edit]

In May 1964 the government and the people of Malé worked together to construct a new asphalt runway. The four districts of Malé competed for the prize money of 1,000 rufiyaa, awarded to the fastest district. On the first day 108 volunteers were enlisted for the project and 1,563.08 rufiya was donated. The new runway was opened on 12 April 1966 at 16:00 by the former president Ibrahim Nasir.[8]

Upgrade to Malé International Airport[edit]

When the tourism industry in the Maldives began in 1972, the country was in need of an international standard airport to transport tourists to the resort islands. So, on 11 November 1981, the airport was officially inaugurated under a new name of "Malé International Airport". The airport was inaugurated by the then-president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom GCMG.[8]

Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL)[edit]

As the airport started hosting frequent and numerous flights, the need for a corporate entity to manage the airport was realised. Thus, Maldives Airports Company Ltd. (MACL) was formed on 1 January 1994 to operate and manage the Male' International Airport. MACL is governed by the board of directors appointed by the President of the Maldives.[9]

Privatisation of the airport[edit]

In 2010, Government of Maldives appointed IFC to run the bidding process for the privatisation of the airport. IFC apart from being the lead transaction advisor also ran the international bid process for the Government of Maldives. Among the bids received in the process, six bidders comprising more than ten international investors were prequalified for the transaction and a consortium of GMR Group, India & Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAHB) was one of the bidders. After the legal and technical evaluation of the bids received, financial evaluation of the bids was done.[4] Out of 3 international consortium bids including ones from Flughafen Zürich AG and Aéroports de Paris, the bid was won by the consortium between GMR Group and Malaysia Airports who provided Rufiyaa 1 Billion[10] as upfront fee to the government for the rehabilitation, expansion, modernisation, operation and maintenance of the airport for 25 years.

On 28 July 2010, a public-private partnership in managing the airport was signed between the Maldivian government and officials of GMR Group and Malaysia Airports, leasing the airport to the consortium for 25 years,[11][12] with the new operator's mission being to develop MIA into a global standard airport by the year 2014.

In September 2010, GMR-MAHB consortium registered "GMR Malé International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (GMIAL)" as the new operator of the airport.[13]

On 25 November 2010, MACL officially handed over the aerodrome license of Malé International Airport to GMIAL.[5]

MACL continued to own the Male' International Airport and manage some of the other airports in Maldives.

Airport management[edit]

More than 1200 employees from Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) will be transferred to GMR Malé International Airport Pvt. Ltd. (GMIAL) as part of the privatisation.[14] GMIAL became the main operator of the airport while MACL continued to be responsible for Air Traffic Control, Aviation Security Command and some other offices.

Airport upgrade[edit]

The agreement signed between the Maldives government and GMR Group included the upgrading and renovation of the airport up to the standard of a global airport by the year 2014.

GMIAL announced that the development plans included reclaiming more land at the eastern end of the runway; where a new terminal is to be built. This terminal will consist of 3 separate bridged buildings. Plans for a separate cargo terminal was also announced. However,the project has been delaying and never started.[15]

The airport came 5th in a survey conducted by PrivateFly during October and November 2011, to find the world's best airport approaches.[16]

Name change[edit]

On 26 July 2011 Independence Day, the Maldivian government officially changed the name of the airport to 'Ibrahim Nasir International Airport'.[17] This change was brought in memory of the late Ibrahim Nasir, 2nd President of the Maldives for initiating the airport in 1960, as well as for commemorating his work in the independence of Maldives.[18][19]

Termination of Contract with GMR-MAHB[edit]

In late 2012, the government of Maldives declared that the concession agreement was void ab initio and on 27 November 2012 gave GMIAL a deadline of 7 days to evict the airport'.[20] The Government also noted that after the termination of contract with GMR-MAHB, the government owned Maldives Airports Company Limited would run the airport'.[21]

On the midnight of 7 December, GMR Handed over the airport to the government of the Maldives and now it's being run by MACL.[22]


The airport resides at an elevation of 6 feet (2 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 18/36 with an asphalt surface measuring 3,200 m × 45 m (10,499 ft × 148 ft).[2]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Monarch Airlines Airbus A330-200 in Malé
Transaero Airlines Boeing 747-200 in Malé
Emirates Airbus A330-200 in Malé
Airlines Destinations
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo
Air India Bangalore, Chennai, Thiruvanathapuram
Austrian Airlines
operated by Tyrolean Airways
Bangkok Airways Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi
British Airways Seasonal: Colombo-Bandaranaike (ends 28 March 2015),[23] London-Gatwick
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong
China Eastern Airlines Colombo-Bandaranaike, Kunming
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou
Condor Frankfurt
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zurich
Emirates Colombo-Bandaranaike, Dubai-International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
flydubai Dubai-International
Flyme Hanimaadhoo, Dharavandhoo, Maamigili, Kadhdhoo, Kaadedhdhoo, Kooddoo, Fuvahmulah, Gan
Hainan Airlines Beijing-Capital
Hong Kong Airlines Hong Kong [24]
Korean Air Colombo-Bandaranaike, Seoul-Incheon
Lufthansa Seasonal: Frankfurt (begins 9 December 2015)[25]
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur
Maldivian Chennai, Chongqing, Dhaka, Dharavandhoo, Fuvahmulah, Gan, Hanimaadhoo, Kadhdhoo, Kaadedhdhoo, Kooddoo, Thimarafushi, Thiruvanathapuram, Wuhan[26]
Mega Maldives Beijing-Capital, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai-Pudong, Palau
Charter: Chengdu, Chongqing, Gan, Hangzhou Xiaoshan International
Trans Maldivian Airways

Resort.]]Shaviyani Atoll

  • Dholhiyadhoo (Zitahli Resort And Spa Dholhiyadhoo)
  • Vagaru (Viceroy Maldives)

Noonu Atoll

  • Kudafunafaru (Zitahli Resort And Spa Kudafunafaru)
  • Iru Fushi (The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi)
  • Maavelavaru
  • Orimasvaru (Velaa Private Island)
  • Randheli (Cheval Blanc Randheli)

Raa Atoll

  • Meedhupparu (Adaaran Select Medhupparu)

Baa Atoll

  • Dhunikolhu (Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu)
  • Fonimagoodhoo (Reethi Beach Resort)
  • Kihavah Huravalhi (Anantara Kihivah Villas)
  • Kunfunadhoo (Soneva Fushi)
  • Landaa Giraavaru (Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru)
  • Mudhdhoo (Dusit Thani Maldives)

Lhaviyani Atoll

  • Kanifushi (Atmosphere Kanifushi)
  • Kanuhura (Kanuhura)
  • Kuredhdhoo (Kuredu Resort)
  • Komandoo (Komandoo Maldives Island Resort)
  • Madhiriguraidhoo (Palm Beach Resort and Spa Maldives)

Kaafu Atoll

  • Biyadhoo (Biyadhoo Island Resort)
  • Helengeli (Helengeli Island Resort)
  • Kuda Huraa (Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa)
  • Medhufinolhu (One & Only Reethi Rah)
  • Meerufenfushi (Meeru Island Resort and Spa)
  • Veligandu Huraa (Naladhu Maldives)
  • Ziyaaraifushi (Summer Island Village)

Alif Alif Atoll

  • Bathala (Bathala Island Resort)
  • Ellaidhoo (Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo)
  • Ethere Madivaru
  • Fesdhoo (W Retreat and Spa - Maldives)
  • Gangehi (Gangehi Island Resort)
  • Halaveli (Constance Halaveli)
  • Kandholhudhoo (Kandholhu Island)
  • Kudafolhudhoo (Nika Island Resort)
  • Kuramathi (Kuramathi Island Resort)
  • Maayafushi (VOI Maayafushi Resort)
  • Madoogali (Madoogali - The Maldives)
  • Mushimasgali (Safari Island Resort and Spa)
  • Velidhoo (Velidhu Island Resort)
  • Veligandu (Veligandu Island Resort and Spa)

Alif Dhaalu Atoll

  • Angaga (Angaga Island Resort and Spa)
  • Athuruga (Diamonds Athuruga)
  • Dhidhdhoofinolhu (LUX* Maldives)
  • Huvahendhoo (Lily Beach Resort and Spa)
  • Kudarah (Kudarah Island Resort)
  • Maafushivaru (Maafushivaru)
  • Machchafushi (Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa Maldives)
  • Mirihi (Mirihi Island Resort)
  • Moofushi (Constance Moofushi)
  • Rangali (Conrad Maldives Rangali Island)
  • Thudufushi (Diamonds Thudufushi)
  • Vakarufalhi (Vakarufalhi Island Resort)
  • Vilamendhoo (Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa)
  • Vilingilivaru (Ranveli Village)

Vaavu Atoll

  • Alimatha (Alimatha Aquatic Resort)
  • Dhiggiri (VOI Dhiggiri Resort)

Meemu Atoll

  • Medhufushi (Medhufushi Island Resort)
  • Hakuraa Huraa (Chaaya Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa)

Faafu Atoll

  • Filitheyo (Filitheyo Island Resort)
  • Maafushi (The Rania Experience)

Dhaalu Atoll

  • Meedhuffushi (Vilu Reef Beach and Spa Resort)
  • Olhuveli (Niyama Maldives Per Aquum Resort)
  • Velavaru (Angsana Velavaru Resort)
Meridiana Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino
Neos Seasonal charter: Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino
Oman Air Muscat
Qatar Airways Doha
Sichuan Airlines Chengdu
Singapore Airlines Singapore
Spicejet Kochi
SriLankan Airlines Colombo-Bandaranaike, Hambantota, Tokyo-Narita
Tigerair Singapore[27]
Transaero Airlines Moscow-Domodedovo,[28] Moscow-Vnukovo[28]
Turkish Airlines1 Istanbul-Atatürk

1Some of these flights make an intermediate stop in Colombo, but Turkish Airlines does not have traffic rights solely between Male and Colombo.


As of March 2013, SriLankan Airlines is the largest foreign carrier into Maldives with 32 flights a week. Bandaranaike International Airport is the most common direct stop out of the Maldives as it is served by SriLankan Airlines, British Airways, China Eastern Airlines, Emirates and Korean Air who operate a combined total of up to 10 flights daily between Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On 18 October 1995 an Air Maldives Dornier 228 abruptly turned right, left the runway, struck the seawall and somersaulted into the adjacent lagoon while landing. The plane was written off.[29]
  • On 15 August 1996 a Hummingbird Helicopters MIL Mi-8P lost control after takeoff due to the non-availability of hydraulic pressure. Only 4 people received minor injuries.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "There will be major changes to MACL: Nazim". Haveeru Daily. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Airport information for VRMM from DAFIF (effective October 2006)
  3. ^ Airport information for MLE at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
  4. ^ a b "IFC success stories". 
  5. ^ a b "GMR – Press Release". Gmrgroup.in. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "HaveeruOnline: Maldives News, Sports, Travel, Business, Technology, Entertainment, Politics and Breaking News". Haveeru.com.mv. Retrieved 21 August 2013. [dead link]
  7. ^ "ACI release". ACI. 
  8. ^ a b c "ARC". Airports.com.mv. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Corporate". Airports.com.mv. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "GMR offers Rf1 billion for Male airport". Haveeru Daily. 24 June 2010. Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Airport leasing agreement signed". Haveeru Daily. 28 June 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "GMR offers Rf1 billion for Male airport". Haveeru Daily. 24 July 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "GMR to take over airport operations after advanced payment". Haveeru Daily. 26 September 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. 
  14. ^ "GMR-MAHB to takeover airport November". Haveeru Daily. 24 July 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. 
  15. ^ "President hopes 2011 budget will speed up development projects". Haveeru Daily. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "PrivateFly.com". PrivateFly.com. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "HaveeruOnline: Maldives News, Sports, Travel, Business, Technology, Entertainment, Politics and Breaking News". Haveeru Daily. Retrieved 21 August 2013. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Malé International Airport to Become Ibrahim Nasir International Airport | Maldives Travel Lifestyle Experience". Maldives.net.mv. 16 July 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ "Maldives cabinet passes to annul GMR agreement Maldives cabinet passes to annul GMR agreement". Haveeru Daily. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "MACL will now operate the airport: Finance Minister". Haveeru Daily. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  22. ^ "Maldives govt completes take over of airport from GMR". Haveeru Daily. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  23. ^ BA to drop Colombo turn Male seasonal
  24. ^ http://www.routesonline.com/news/29/breaking-news/241705/hong-kong-airlines-to-resume-maldives-service-from-july-2014/
  25. ^ http://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/33686-cityline-pilots-to-operate-lufthansas-a340-jump-fleet
  26. ^ "Maldivian Plans to Start Wuhan Service from June 2014". Airline Route. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  27. ^ tigerair.com – Find some calm and quiet in Maldives
  28. ^ a b "City pairs Schedule". Information and Services. JSC "TRANSAERO" Airlines. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  29. ^ a b c "Maldives Civil Aviation Authority – 8Q-TMC Collision with Seawall". Aviainfo.gov.mv. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Malé International Airport at Wikimedia Commons