Male - Yesterday (18 September), an Airbus A380 from Etihad Airways landed in the Maldives for the first time in history.

Etihad sent the aircraft to the archipelago to celebrate the opening of the Velana International Airport's (VIA) new runway that is now large enough for the landing of Airbus' superjumbo.

The event was celebrated extensively in the Maldives, including a live broadcast on the state TV.

Actually, Etihad's A380 is not the first to land on the VIA's new 3400 meters long and 60 meters wide runway. On September 7, an Air India A320neo made the headlines by accidentally landing at the same runway which was under construction then.

The new runway of Velana International Airport was constructed by the Chinese Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG). The project cost around USD 400 million to the government of Maldives.

Etihad carries out 11 weekly flights to the tropical holiday paradise with two Airbus A320.