Today in Transportation History – 1986: Maldivian Kaadedhdhoo Airport Runway Completed

The runway for a new airport in the Maldives, a country situated in the Indian Ocean, was completed four years after construction on the paved strip had begun. The conclusion of work on the runway marked an important step in building the airport on the Maldivan island of Kaadedhdhoo, with the facility officially opening about eight months later.

Construction of this airport was part of the Maldivian government’s efforts led by President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom to create better transportation linkages between the capital city of Malé on the Malé Atoll and other regions of the country. As an archipelago spread across approximately 115 square miles, the Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries.  The establishment of airports at key points, including Kaadedhdhoo Island, has therefore been a top priority for government officials.

The Kaadedhdhoo Airport was built under the supervision of Ilyas Ibrahim, who served at the time as both minister of trade & industries and deputy minister of defense & national security. Those providing financial assistance for the airport’s construction included the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) Fund.

Kaadedhdhoo Airport is one of 11 airports in the Maldives and one of seven handling domestic flights. In addition, Kaadedhdhoo Airport is the largest facility of its kind in the country’s central region known as the Middle-Maldives District.

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