Airport and hotel project on Fainu island, Maldives

A new airport and hotel development threatens to swallow up two-thirds of Fainu Island - a long stretch of white sand coastline, dense forest and agricultural land. Residents opposing the development established the SaveFainu campaign.


Description

Residents of Fainu are concerned that a new airport and hotel project, suddenly announced at the end of May 2018, will swallow up most of their island. The concept drawing shows the development taking up about two-thirds of the island land area with the airport runway extending along the entire southern coastline. The Maldives Independent calculated that 31 hectares of vegetation would be lost, an area equivalent to 57 football fields and encompassing a dense jungle area and agricultural land. Land earmarked for a gated hotel is shown on the concept layout as an area adjacent to the airport.

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Basic Data
NameAirport and hotel project on Fainu island, Maldives
CountryMaldives
ProvinceRaa Atoll
SiteFainu island
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Deforestation
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Ports and airport projects
Specific CommoditiesLand
White sand coastline
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsA domestic airport, along with one or two hotels, is planned on Fainu island, to serve existing and planned tourism resorts on Raa Atoll. Universal Enterprises, one of the largest hospitality companies in the Maldives operating several resorts on Raa Atoll, is financing Fainu Airport through bulk purchase of advance sales of air tickets. In May 2018 Island Aviation Services, owner and operator of Maldivian, the government-owned largest carrier in the Maldives, was awarded the US$8 million contract to develop and operate the airport. Construction of Fainu Airport is scheduled to begin in August 2018 [7]. The three-phase construction project is scheduled to be completed in 12 months [3]. The airport plan covers about 31 hectares of land and also includes about 4 hectares of land reclamation [1].
Project Area (in hectares)35
Level of Investment (in USD)8,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected PopulationApproximately 400 residents
Start Date11/06/2018
Company Names or State EnterprisesUniversal Enterprises from Maldives - Universal Enterprises has funded Fainu Airport project through advance prucahse of air tickets
Island Aviation Services from Maldives - Awarded the contract to construct and operate Fainu Airport
Relevant government actorsNational government of the Maldives

Ministry of Tourism (Maldives)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersSaveMaldives - https://twitter.com/SaveMaldivesMV

ECOCARE Maldives - http://ecocare.mv/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationObjections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Desertification/Drought
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other environmental related diseases
OtherHealth problems caused by pollutants emitted by aircraft
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Construction of Fainu Airport appears to be imminent, it is scheduled to commence in August 2018.
Sources and Materials
References

[6] Irreversible Damage, Destruction and Loss in the Maldives, #Save Maldives, 5June 2018
[click to view]

Links

[7] Construction of R.Fainu Airport scheduled to start in August, Corporate Maldives, 5 July 2018
[click to view]

[5] Fainu airport plan draws anger and defiance, Maldives Independent, 3 July 2018
[click to view]

[1] Swathes of jungle to be destroyed in Fainu airport project, Maldives Times, 2 June 2018
[click to view]

[4] Raa Atoll airport project handed over to Island Aviation, Maldives Independent, 31 May 2018
[click to view]

[3] Public petition against Fainu airport project, Avas, 3 July 2018
[click to view]

[2] Raa Atoll Fainu Airport Development Lease Honoured to Island Aviation Services, The Islandchief, 31 May 2018
[click to view]

Media Links

Twitter - SaveFainu
[click to view]

Facebook - SaveFainu
[click to view]

SaveFainu submits petition on 3rd July 2018, photo album by Dying Regime on Flickr
[click to view]

Other Documents

Fainu Airport - map Fainu Airport concept layout shows the airport taking up the southern half of the island, with land for a gated hotel shaded in purple
[click to view]

SaveFainu petition The petition was submitted to the Tourism Ministry, Universal Enterprises and Island Aviation Services. Photo: Dying Regime
[click to view]

Petition against Fainu airport plans The petition called for more transparency over the airport project and an independent EIA. Photo: Dying Regime
[click to view]

Petition opposing Fainu airport plans 140 residents signed the petition and some residents traveled to the capital to deliver it. Photo: Dying Regime
[click to view]

Submitting petition On 3rd July 2018 a petition was submitted by SaveFainu. Photo: Dying Regime
[click to view]

Fainu island coastline Dense forest, farmland and white sand coastline would be destroyed for the airport
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorRose Bridger, Stay Grounded, email: [email protected]
Last update24/08/2018
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