The Maldives, a tropical island nation renowned for its stunning white beaches, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life, is served by a network of domestic airports that connect it to the rest of the world via the Velana International airport.
Velana International Airport (MLE)
Velana International Airport (MLE), also known as Malé International Airport, is the primary gateway to the Maldives. Located on Hulhulé Island in the North Malé Atoll, it stands adjacent to the capital city of Malé.
Situated on the picturesque Hulhule Island, Velana International Airport boasts modern infrastructure and a wide range of facilities designed to cater to the needs of travelers. In addition to the airport’s terminals, shops, dining areas, and hotels, passengers can enjoy an array of services, including:
Airport Lounges: The airport offers several lounges, including the Leeli Lounge, which provides a comfortable space for passengers to relax before their flights. Amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, refreshments, and shower facilities.
Healthcare Facilities: The Airport is equipped with a medical center that offers first aid and emergency medical services, ensuring the health and safety of all travelers.
Passengers with Disabilities: The airport is committed to providing accessible facilities and services for passengers with disabilities. Wheelchair assistance, priority boarding, and special assistance services are available upon request.
Arrival and Departure Procedures
Upon arrival at Velana International Airport, passengers will go through immigration and customs checks. On average, it takes about 30-45 minutes to clear immigration and collecting the luggage, depending on the passenger traffic.
For departing passengers, it is recommended to arrive at the airport at least 2-3 hours before the scheduled flight. Check-in counters typically close 60 minutes before departure for international flights.
Getting to and from Velana International Airport
Several transportation options are available for getting to and from Velana International Airport:
Airport Ferries: Regular airport ferries operate between the airport and Malé city, providing an affordable and convenient way to travel between the two locations. The ferry terminal is located just outside the arrivals area, and the journey takes approximately 10-15 minutes.
Taxis: Taxis are available at the airport’s taxi stand, offering a quick and convenient way to reach your destination in Malé or Hulhumale. Taxi fares are metered, and the average cost to Malé is around MVR 100-150.
Speedboats and Seaplanes: For travelers heading to resorts or other islands, speedboat and seaplane transfers can be arranged by your resort or a tour operator. It is recommended to book these services in advance to ensure a seamless travel experience.
Domestic Flights: For travelers looking to explore other islands within the Maldives, Velana International Airport offers a range of domestic flights operated by airlines such as Maldivian and Flyme. These flights connect the main airport with regional airports throughout the archipelago, making it easy and convenient to reach your desired destination. It is recommended to book domestic flights in advance, either through your hotel, a local tour operator, or directly with the airline.
Velana International Airport serves as a welcoming gateway to the beautiful Maldives, offering a range of facilities and services to ensure a pleasant and hassle-free travel experience.
Other International Airports
In addition to Velana International Airport, the Maldives is served by several other international airports that provide convenient access to various atolls and islands.
Gan International Airport (GAN) – Addu Atoll
Located in the southernmost atoll of the Maldives, Gan International Airport serves as a gateway to the beautiful Addu Atoll. The airport was initially established as a British Royal Air Force base during World War II and has since been transformed into a modern international airport.
Gan International Airport offers both domestic and international flights, connecting Addu Atoll with various destinations in the Maldives, as well as regional hubs such as Colombo, Sri Lanka. The airport features essential facilities such as a passenger terminal, baggage handling services, and a small selection of shops and dining options.
Hanimaadhoo International Airport (HAQ) – Haa Dhaalu Atoll
Situated in the northern region of the Maldives, Hanimaadhoo International Airport provides easy access to the stunning Haa Dhaalu Atoll. This small yet functional airport caters to both domestic and international traffic, with flights connecting Hanimaadhoo to Malé and other regional destinations.
The airport’s facilities include a passenger terminal, baggage handling services, and a few retail and dining options. Given its remote location, Hanimaadhoo International Airport offers a unique and intimate travel experience for those seeking to explore the Maldives’ northern atolls.
Villa International Airport (VAM) – Maamigili Island – Alif Dhaal Atoll
Nestled on Maamigili Island in the picturesque Alif Dhaal Atoll, Villa International Airport is a privately-owned airport operated by Villa Group. This airport caters primarily to domestic flights, connecting Maamigili Island with Velana International Airport and other regional airports within the Maldives.
Villa International Airport features a comfortable passenger terminal, baggage handling services, and a selection of essential amenities for travelers. Its strategic location in the heart of Alif Dhaal Atoll makes it an ideal entry point for visitors looking to explore the area’s pristine islands and luxurious resorts.
Maldives Domestic Airports
Apart from Velana International Airport, the Maldives has a total of 18 domestic airports scattered across its atolls, which are essential for inter-island connectivity. These airports are smaller and primarily handle domestic flights, making it convenient for tourists and residents to travel between the islands. Some of the notable domestic airports include:
Dharavandhoo Airport (DRV) – Baa Atoll: Situated in the UNESCO-protected Baa Atoll, Dharavandhoo Airport serves as a gateway to the region’s renowned resorts and rich marine biodiversity.
Ifuru Airport (IFU) – Raa Atoll: Serving the picturesque Raa Atoll, Ifuru Airport offers convenient connections to the atoll’s luxurious resorts and abundant marine life.
Madivaru Airport (LMV) – Lhaviyani Atoll: Providing access to the breathtaking Lhaviyani Atoll, Madivaru Airport is the gateway to an array of luxurious resorts and pristine beaches.
Fuvahmulah Airport (FVM) – Gnaviyani Atoll: Located on Fuvahmulah Island, this airport connects visitors to the unique beauty of Gnaviyani Atoll, known for its lush vegetation and vibrant coral reefs.
Kaadedhdhoo Airport (KDM) – Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll: Serving the southern part of Huvadhu Atoll, Kaadedhdhoo Airport provides access to pristine beaches and luxurious resorts in Gaafu Dhaalu.
Kadhdhoo Airport (KDO) – Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll: Another airport serving the South Huvadhu Atoll, Kadhdhoo Airport offers additional connectivity to this popular destination.
Kooddoo Airport (GKK) – Gaafu Alifu Atoll: Nestled in the northern part of Huvadhu Atoll, Kooddoo Airport connects visitors to the stunning natural beauty and world-class resorts of Gaafu Alifu Atoll.
Thimarafushi Airport (TMF) – Thaa Atoll: Providing access to Thaa Atoll’s pristine islands and turquoise waters, Thimarafushi Airport is a convenient entry point for travelers exploring this captivating region.
Hoarafushi Airport (HRF) – Haa Alifu Atoll: Located in the northernmost atoll of the Maldives, Hoarafushi Airport connects visitors to the idyllic islands and vibrant coral reefs of Haa Alifu Atoll.
Kulhudhuffushi Airport (HDK) – Haa Dhaalu Atoll: Situated in the northern region of the Maldives, Kulhudhuffushi Airport provides easy access to the beautiful islands and resorts of Haa Dhaalu Atoll.
Funadhoo Airport (FND) – Shaviyani Atoll: Serving the remote Shaviyani Atoll, Funadhoo Airport offers connectivity to this lesser-explored, yet stunningly beautiful region of the Maldives.
Maafaru International Airport (NMF): A relatively new addition to the Maldives’ aviation infrastructure, Maafaru International Airport is designed to cater to both international and domestic travelers, providing an alternative entry point to the luxury resorts in the Noonu Atoll.
Dhaalu Airport (DDD) – Dhaalu Atoll: Situated in the scenic Dhaalu Atoll, this airport connects visitors to the region’s renowned luxury resorts and crystal-clear waters.
Maavarulu Airport (NMF) – Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll: Serving the southern part of the Maldives, Maavarulu Airport offers travelers easy access to Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll’s stunning islands and world-class resorts.
These domestic airports play a vital role in connecting travelers to the Maldives’ diverse and enchanting atolls, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable journey across this island paradise.