The thing about island destinations such as The Maldives is that you can mostly only fly to such locations since cruises are not always possible. Not many travelers know that there are 5 international airports in The Maldives, as it is often assumed that flights only operate to the capital.
The mesmerizing natural setting of the Maldives is located to the south-west of India and Sri Lanka, offering a refreshing atmosphere and stunning views of the blue water of the ocean. For an ultimate experience, the best time to visit Maldives is between December to April.
Even though there are roughly 1,200 islands in The Maldives, there are only 26 atolls that they group into. These geographical and administrative atolls stretch from north to south across the Equator and form a double chain.
It must surely be tough to serve so many isles that are spread over 90,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean. It is definitely a relief to know that this Asian archipelago has over a dozen domestic airports and a few international airports to make the connectivity convenient.
What are the Different International Airports in The Maldives?
If you will be staying at one of the private island luxury resorts in The Maldives, it will certainly require that you take at least one international flight from whichever part of the world you are arriving from. Depending on the distance of the airport from your accommodation, choose from any of the 5 international airports that this country has.
Velana International Airport
Alternatively known as the Maldives International Airport and Malé International Airport, the Velana International Airport is the most popular and the main international airport of this island nation. Located in North Malé Atoll, this airport has an island dedicated to it – Hulhumalé.
While this airport primarily serves Malé – the capital city of The Maldives, convenient onward domestic flights and seaplane charters are available to other islands. Since Hulhulé is connected to Hulhumalé and Malé through the Sinomalé Bridge, you can simply land at the airport and proceed towards any pre-booked activities to do in Maldives.
The 4-letter ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) airport code of the Velana International Airport is VRMM, while its 3-character IATA (International Air Transport Association) location identifier is MLE.
In operation since 19 October 1966, this airport is the entry point to Malé – the world’s smallest capital. It is also the hub for Maldivian airline (the flag carrier of the country) and the private Trans Maldivian Airways.
Apart from 2 asphalt runways in the aerodrome, the airport has 4 water runways in its waterdrome for seaplane operations. There are 3 terminals here – international, domestic and seaplane.
Gan International Airport
Serving Addu City, the Gan International Airport sits on the island of Gan – the southernmost island of the atoll. This airport in Addu Atoll has been in commercial operation since June 2019. The ICAO code of Gan International Airport is VRMG and its IATA airport code is GAN.
This airport has an elevation of 6 feet above the mean sea level, but only one runway. You can fly down via SriLankan Airlines – the flag bearer of Sri Lanka, if you are arriving from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport.
The history of Gan International Airport goes a long way back as it was built by the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom as a military airbase during World War 2. It was soon transferred to the UK’s Royal Air Force and named ‘Royal Air Force Station Gan’ or ‘RAF Gan’. It was only in 1976 that this airport was handed over to the Government of Maldives by the British imperialists.
Maafaru International Airport
On the inhabited island of Maafaru, the eponymous airport serves the entire Noonu Atoll. Maafaru International Airport began operations from 1 December 2019 and is managed by Island Aviation Services Limited.
The airport has a 2,200-metre long and 40-metre wide runway, which is the only one on the tarmac. The ICAO code for Maafaru International Airport is VRDA, while its IATA code is NMF. Located 2 metres above the mean sea level, this airport can accommodate a maximum of 6 jets at once.
Currently, only Maldivian, FlyMe and Manta Air operate flights to this airport but the airport hopes to receive more international airlines as the atoll of Noonu develops into a luxury tourist zone. It is not just the asphalt surface that Maafaru International Airport has but also a VIP lounge and a passenger terminal maintained by the national carrier – Maldivian.
Hanimaadhoo International Airport
Sitting on the local island of Hanimaadhoo, the Hanimaadhoo International Airport serves the Haa Dhaalu Atoll. While its ICAO code is VRMH, its IATA code is HAQ. Previously a domestic airport, this one became international on 2 February 2012.
This public airport managed by the Regional Airports Company Limited currently sees direct flights to Thiruvananthapuram and seasonal flights to Kochi, both in Kerala. Only Maldivian operates these international flights to India as of now.
When it comes to domestic connectivity, you can fly to Dharavandhoo island on Baa Atoll, Malé and Ifuru Airport in the Ungoofaaru area from here. Located at an elevation of 3 feet above the mean sea level, the Hanimaadhoo International Airport has only one asphalt runway which is 30 metres wide and 1,220 metres long.
Villa International Airport Maamigili
Located on the public island of Maamigili, the Villa International Airport serves Alifu Dhaalu Atoll. The IATA code of this airport is VAM, whereas its ICAO code is VRMV. Owned by the Villa Group, this airport is the hub for Flyme, a private airline. As of today, you can fly to the islands of Malé, Dharavandhoo, Kooddoo, Fuvahmulah, Kadhdhoo, Gan, Kaadedhdhoo and Hanimaadhoo from this airport.
While the Villa-Maamigili Airport was in operation since 1 October 2011 as a domestic airport, it received the coveted international upgrade in 2013. The airport sits at an elevation of 2 metres above the mean sea level and sees quite a few seaplanes taxiing on its concrete runway which is 30 metres wide and 1,800 metres long.
Once you have figured out which of the international airports in The Maldives you wish to arrive at, complete your booking with Samudra Maldives. You will find plenty of help planning your vacation – from the stay to the water activities that will keep you busy on the island.