Private Jet Charter Services - Malé International Airport (VRMM)
Paramount Business Jets offers private jet charter flights and luxury airliner charters to and from Malé International Airport.
In the middle of the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles south of India, lies the archipelago nation of Maldives, an elongated necklace of 1,190 coral islands that beckons elite travelers to its beautiful beaches and weather.
And, the best way to get there is to charter a private jet to Velana International Airport near Malé, the capital and most populous city in the Maldives.
Maldives is an island chain as luxurious as the Seychelles, which is located 1,300 miles southwest of the Maldives. If both island chains are on your bucket list, it’s easy to scratch off both of them with a private jet rental to Malé International Airport, as Velena International is commonly known. The Malé International Airport codes are: IATA: MLE, ICAO: VRMM.
The 1,190 coral islands in the Maldives are part of 26 natural atolls. An atoll is a coral island that is part of a reef surrounding a lagoon. The islands are the tips of mountains in a vast underwater mountain range. Crystal clear water fills the lagoons that surround the islands. The reefs that protect the islands also protect a large population of sea life, making the Maldives a draw to scuba divers and snorkelers. Once there, visitors can decide what islands they would like to see and rent a private jet or seaplane to get from place to place.
Airport Information for Malé International Airport (VRMM, MLE)
|Runway||Length (ft)||Width (ft)||Surface Type||Elevation (ft)|
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Too many planes for the airport
With the number of tourists continuing to grow, Maldives is making sure its airport can handle them all. An expansion project is currently under way to enlarge and modernize Malé International Airport, located on Hulhule Island, which is right next to Malé.
It’s not an easy task because the airport is only 6 feet above sea level. It takes a lot of dredging and shoring up. By the way, the islands range from just under 5 feet to just under 8 feet above sea level.
Adil Moosa, the managing director of Maldives Airports Company Limited, the airport developer, has said the expansion project is more than just enlarging what is already there.
“It will be a complete transformation from the current moribund operation to a world-class airport with all the facilities and services required to cater to travelers, ranging from those who travel in economy class to those who seek more exclusive or high-end services.”
The islands in the Maldives are so small that every single luxurious resort has its own island. With resorts on almost 100 of them, the South Asian island nation knows the importance of having a large, modern airport with easy access to the rest of the chain. It’s easy to rent a private seaplane, the most popular mode of transportation between the islands.
Here are the key elements of the airport expansion and renovation project:
- Land reclamation
- A new 2.1-mile Code-4F runway
- Expansion of facilities for parking aircraft
- A new passenger terminal with state-of-the-art baggage handling systems
- A new cargo terminal
- A new seaplane terminal
Building the new Malé Airport
The terrain has not been the only hindrance to getting a new Malé Airport built. Financing the project has also been a problem. Its construction has actually been in the works for more than a decade. The entire project – two new terminals, a new runway and a new bridge – is expected to be completed by 2020.
Interestingly, Malé International Airport, isn’t actually in Malé. It’s on a separate island, Hulhule, about a mile and a quarter away. The Friendship Bridge, which is part of the project, will span the water between the airport island of Hulhule and Malé.
The first master plan to replace the aging terminal with a state-of-the-art new one to handle the increased tourism to the Maldives was proposed in 2005 but its cost – an estimated $350 million – delayed action on the project. Since then, it has moved at a snail’s pace. The leadership of the Muslim archipelago nation has been in flux for decades.
Before construction could begin, more than 200 acres of land had to be reclaimed to accommodate the new runway, new passenger terminal, and new seaplane terminal. That work was done by Dubai-based Gulf Cobla.
While two other airports in the country can handle international flights -- Hanimaadhoo International Airport has a weekly flight to India and Gan International Airport has two weekly flights to Sri Lanka – almost all visitors to the Maldives come through Malé International Airport.
After the land was reclaimed, work began on the first part of the project, the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge. The country hopes to have it completed this year by July 26, Maldives’s Independence Day. (Maldives gained its independence from Great Britain on July 26, 1965, after 77 years of British control.)
China was added to the name of the $200 million bridge after it reportedly gave $116 million in free aid to the Maldives and loaned it another $72 million to get the project, started in 2016, completed.
The bridge will be the first of its kind in the Maldives. It will link the western corner of Hulhule, where Velana International Airport is located, to the eastern edge of Malé. It will be 65 feet wide with two lanes of traffic, and separate lanes for bicycles and pedestrians.
The new runway
Meanwhile, work on a new runway began in March 2018. Plans were to open the runway, big enough to land the world’s largest passenger jet when the bridge opens. Construction workers rush to meet the deadline.
Today, there are about 400 flight movements a day at the airport. When the new runway opens, the old one will be used as a taxiway and rapid exit area, increasing the number of planes that come and go every hour from 12 to 36.
Once the new second runway is open, incoming planes will be able to vacate the runway sooner, and outgoing planes will be able to get on the runway right before taking off.
The air traffic problem and subsequent flight delays have gotten even worse over the last decade as runway use has increased about 45 percent, especially during the peak season of November to March.
And, the airport isn’t used just to bring foreign visitors to the country. More than 60 percent of tourists are transferred from Malé International Airport to resorts by air. Private jet rental and seaplane rental are available from Velana International Airport, IATA: MLE; ICAO: VRMM. You can rent a private jet or seaplane at MLE from Paramount Business Jets. The airport reported that in 2016, more than 100,000 seaplanes and private jets flew in and out of Malé.
There are more than a dozen small airports and many seaplane landing sites around the Maldives and more are built every year. That makes the renovation of Malé International Airport even more important to handle the increasing number of tourists who hire private jets to move around the archipelago nation.
To get the new $400 million runway built, the Maldives got a $373 million loan from the Chinese EXIM Bank with other loans coming from the Saudi Fund for Development and the Kuwait and OPEC funds. Work is being done by China’s Beijing Urban Construction Group, which will also build a cargo complex and a new fuel farm with increased storage capacity.
The new passenger terminal
The passenger terminal at Velana International Airport is expected to be completed by 2020. Before it was renamed in early 2017, the airport was called Ibrahim Nasir International.
When the new passenger terminal is open – the Saudi Binladin Group was awarded the contract to build it – it will be almost four times the size of the existing terminal and will have six boarding gates in its 840,000 square feet. The airport projects the new terminal will serve some 7.3 million passengers a year.
It will have more service counters, lounges, dining facilities, and shops.
The new seaplane terminal
Seaplanes can be used to reach every corner of the Maldives.
Work on a new seaplane terminal, which will make it the largest seaplane hub in the world, began in April 2017.
It is being built on a reclaimed lagoon on the eastern side of Hulhule.
The two seaplane terminals, run by independent operators, that are currently on the site will be dismantled or relocated with a new common seaplane terminal and floating dock facility built in their place. Tourists who hire seaplanes from private jet operators will use this facility that will have the capacity to park more than 60 Code B aircraft.
The new four-floor concrete and glass seaplane terminal will have all the amenities A-list travelers want when going back and forth from island resorts. It will have VIP lounges for high-level and for business-class travelers, restrooms and office space.
The new seaplane terminal, being built by Beijing Urban Construction Group of China, will have three designated water runways.
Landing in Malé’s Velana International
Once you land on Hulhule, you can either go to Malé on a ferry or hire a private jet or seaplane to take you to your resort destination island. Some resorts transport their guests by speedboat.
An airport ferry that runs 24 hours a day leaves every 10 minutes from 6 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. with slightly longer waiting times in the middle of the night.
Or you can rent a private jet to one of the 12 regional airports scattered around the islands. For even more remote destinations, hire a seaplane to get you there.
There are no restrictions on foreign nationals and, if you are staying for fewer than 30 days, a visa is not necessary. Maldives will issue a 30-day passport stamp on arrival. If you are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Nepal, you will get a 90-day stamp.
Maldives is a Sunni Muslim country. No alcohol, guns, drugs, pork or pornography can be taken into the country. Malé is a dry city. Alcohol is prohibited there. However, resorts have licenses and can sell liquor. Dogs are also banned. If you want to bring your pet, you must get a special license for it.
Malé Airport history
The airport started out as a small strip of land on the uninhabited island of Hulhule in 1960. The runway was made of slotted steel sheets and the first plane to land there was a transport plane of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The first commercial flight – from Sri Lanka – landed in 1962. There were no domestic carriers in the Maldives until 1974.
In 1964, more than 100 people volunteered to help build an asphalt runway after prize money was secured to give to the team that worked the fastest in the construction. The asphalt runway opened two years later, in 1966.
It was officially named Malé International Airport in 1981 when tourists started coming to the islands.
In 2011, Malé International Airport was officially renamed the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport after its founder and the second president of the Maldives, Ibrahim Nasir.
In a rebranding of the facility in 2017, it was renamed Velana International Airport.
However, it is still commonly referred to by its original name of Malé International Airport.
How remote are the Maldives?
The tiny specks that make up the world’s lowest country, the Maldives, cover about 115 square miles lie about 300 miles from the southern tip of India. The closest land mass to the west is Somalia, which is 2,000 miles away. Malaysia is the closest land mass to the east with Singapore about 2,000 miles away.
- The entire area of the Maldives -- 115 square miles -- is less than twice the size of Washington, D.C. There isn’t much land, but there is 400 miles of coastline and beaches in the Maldives.
- The Maldives island chain is 510 miles long and 81 miles wide.
- About 200 of the 1,190 Maldives islands are inhabited with only five having a population of more than 3,000. Most have a population under 500. Resorts, many with rooms on stilts in the water, are on 85 islands.
- The capital, Malé, is home to 26 percent of the population.
- While most foods must be imported, Maldives grows its own bananas, coconuts, chiles, onions, sweet potatoes and exotic fruits.
- The primary industry of the Maldives is canning and processing fish, mostly tuna. Some 20 percent of the population works in the fishing industry.
- Are the Maldives sinking? The lowest country in the world is definitely in danger of disappearing due to global warming and rising sea levels. However, the country is aware of this and continues to fight for its future and new construction, including the airport, is done with the threat of rising seas in mind.
FBOs and Handlers at Malé International Airport, VRMM, MLE
|Tropic Jet Tours & Services||(960) 331-2960|
|Galaxy Enterprises Maldives||(960) 331-7244|
|Island Aviation Services Ltd.||(960) 332-1954|
|Skytours Maldives||01-21, STO TRADE CENTRE||(960) 332-2717|
|Holidayplan Maldives Pvt Ltd||(960) 332-4020|
|Mvk Maldives Pvt. Ltd.||MVK MALDIVES PVT LTD||(960) 332-5012|
|Inner Maldives Aviation Svcs||(960) 332-6309|
|Nams Private Limited||(960) 333-7987|
|Amadeus Maldives Pvt. Ltd.||PA COMPLEX, G06 GROUND FLOOR||(960) 334-0828|
|Skytours Maldives||01-21, STO TRADE CENTRE||+960 300 2310|
|Sky Tours Maldives||6th Floor, H.Sonary Building
Malé 20006, Maldives
METAR Weather Data at Malé International Airport, VRMM, MLE
|OBSERVED||Thu Jul 18, 15:00 UTC|
|NOW||Thu Jul 18, 15:48 UTC|
|AGE||48 min ago|
|WIND||WNW at 21 mph|
|CONDITIONS||light rain showers|
|HEAT INDEX||92°F (33°C)|
|BAROMETER||1009 hPa (29.8 in Hg)|
|METAR||VRMM 181500Z 30018KT 7000 -SHRA FEW010 SCT016 FEW017CB OVC100 29/24 Q1009 CB W SE TEMPO 4000 -SHRA|