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GMR Infrastructure, developing the Male International Airport, has won a breather in its ongoing legal tussle with Maldives Airport Company Limited (MACL). According to a statement from GMR, the High Court of Singapore on Monday dismissed the application by MACL seeking vacation of the injunctive order granted in favour of GMR Male International Airport Limited (GMIAL) on July 23 and made absolute the injunctive relief granted in favour of GMIAL.
GMIAL is a joint venture of GMR Infrastructure (77 per cent) and Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (23 per cent). In 2010, GMIAL won the right to build and operate the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), commonly known as Malé International Airport, for 25 years, extendable by another 10 years. GMR plans to develop a 0.6 million square feet integrated passenger terminal, increase the terminal capacity to handle 5.5 mn passengers pa and develop a 20,000-sq-ft VIP terminal, apart from doing landside development and improving existing terminal. Situated on Hulhule Island in the Maldives on the south western tip of India, INIA is one of the fastest-rowing airports in the region. GMR has plans for a project cost of up to $350 million.
In the past few months, GMR and Maldives have been at loggerheads over charging increased rates for passengers. The new government has termed the contract as one not in the best interest of Maldives. GMR has since suspended construction of the new terminal, while it continues to manage the existing one.
It may be recalled that the High Court of Singapore on 23rd July had granted an injunction in favor of GMIAL, restraining MACL from taking any step in the Civil Courts of the Maldives preventing GMIAL from adjustment/set-off of the Airport Development Charge and insurance surcharge, as per MACL’s 5th January 2012 letter, which is now referred to arbitration. MACL approached the High Court of Singapore in October 2012, to get the injunction vacated.
Now with the latest order in Singapre, the dispute raised by MACL on the validity of the 5th January 2012 letter will be decided in the arbitration proceedings to be held in Singapore.