State−run authority to run Maldives airport after GMR ouster

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 27, 2012 18:00 hrs

Male, Nov 27 (IANS) As the Maldivian government cancelled a contract with Indian infrastructure major GMR for the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA), Finance Minister Abdulla Jihad said the airport would now be run by the state−run Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL).

Jihad told Haveeru daily that preparations are now underway for MACL to assume operations of the airport.

"There is no decision made to award the airport to anyone else. Just like before, MACL will run the airport now. But the company must be restructured. The company's board will do everything necessary in that regard," Jihad said, according to the daily.

He said that no decision has yet been taken on the airport fees being charged by GMR. The MACL board will make a decision on the matter, he added.

The minister said the assistance of foreign experts would be taken to run the airport in future.

The Maldives cabinet Tuesday decided to annul the $500 million contract with GMR in the wake of increasing pressure from pro−government political parties.

GMR and Maldives have been at loggerheads over charging increased rates from passengers.

The new government has termed the contract as one not in the best interest of Maldives.

The $500 million contract awarding the airport to GMR Group for 25 years was signed on June 28, 2010, by then president Mohamed Nasheed's government.

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