Maldives - Transportation
Malé, the capital, and some other islands have fairly good streets. Most people travel by bicycle or on foot. Interatoll transportation still depends mostly on local sailing boats, called batheli and odi. Although some mechanized boats carry cargo and, occasionally, passengers between Malé and other atolls, interisland transport is mainly by means of dhonis (small boats). Only a few of the islands are big enough to support automobiles. As of 2002, the Maldives had a fleet of 14 vessels, totaling 51,532 GRT, serving worldwide destinations, all controlled by Maldives Shipping Ltd., a public enterprise. In 2001, the Maldives had five airports, two of which had paved runways. Hulule, Malé's international airport, two km (one mi) away over water from the capital, was completed in 1966. Built with assistance by Sri Lanka under the Colombo Plan, it consists of two islands that were joined together to create a runway. It is served by Singapore Airlines, Air Lanka, various European tourist carriers, and Indian Airlines, the last also operating as Air Maldive on certain flights. Also in 2001, 311,100 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.