Male: Maldives' state-run MACL on Friday night took over the operations of the Male international airport from GMR after the Indian infrastructure major lost a week-long legal battle over the "unilateral" termination of its $ 511 million airport modernisation contract.
"Maldives Airport Company Limited has taken over the operations of the Ibrahim Nassir International Airport from GMR. The transfer process was very smooth and seamless," President Mohamed Waheed's Press Secretary Masood Imad said.
He said that there would be three-week transition period during which GMR and state-run MACL will work together. "GMR has agreed to work with MACL for the next three weeks or so to help MACL with paperworks and to clear any doubts since the Indian firm was operating the airport for last two years," Imad told PTI.
He sought to allay any fears of loss of jobs or any vendetta. "All workers of the airport who wish to stay back after GMR leaves will be taken on board by MACL. This also includes Indian workers," Imad asserted.
Terminating the $ 511 million contract with GMR on November 27, Maldivian government had given time till Friday night to the Bangalore-based firm to handover the airport operations.
The handover took place a day after the Singapore Supreme Court ruled that Maldives government has the "power to do what its wants including expropriating the airport", dealing a severe blow to GMR which had earlier got a temporary reprieve with the Singapore High Court staying the termination.
The contentious issue saw various twists and turns both on legal and diplomatic fronts with India expressing its strong displeasure over the "unilateral" decision of termination and had conveyed that the move will have an adverse impact on the bilateral ties.
Top GMR officials including Kiran Kumar Grandhi, Business Chairman Urban Infra & Highways, who is also GMR chairman GM Rao's son had met with Maldives President earlier in the day.