Velana International Airport
Velana International Airport (IATA: MLE, ICAO: VRMM) (Maldivian: Velana bainal aguvaamee vaige bandharu). It is also known as Male’ International Airport, the main gateway access by air, after GMR the airport name changed to Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. It is located on separated island called Hulhule’ Island in the north east of Male’ Atoll, close proximity of the capital island Male’. Today the airport is a mostly helping as the chief gateway into the Maldives for tourists, because it is well connected with major airports around the world. The airport is administrated and financially managed by an independent corporate entity called Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL).
This airport initially started as a small piece of land on then an inhabited island of Hulhule. This well-known airport was opened on 19 October 1960. The first airstrip built on this island was made of slotted steel sheets. The dimensions of this runway were 75 x 3000 feet (23 x 914 meter) The first airplane which landed at the airport was a Royal New Zealand Air Force Transport plane on 19 October 1960 at 1355 hours. The first commercial flight was an Air Ceylon flight (4R0ACJ) landed on this runway was at 1550 hours on 10th April 1962. The first aircraft owned by the Maldives landed on the runway of the Hulhule Airport on 9th October 1974.
The government and the people of capital Male’ worked hard together to build a new asphalt runway on May 1964. The four region of Malé contested for the prize money of 1,000 rufiyaa, awarded to the fastest district. On the first day 108 volunteers were recruited for the project and 1,563.08 rufiyaa was donated. The new runway was opened on 12 April 1966 at 16:00 by President Ibrahim Nasir.