The national airline of The Maldives, Maldivian has introduced direct flights between N. Maafaru, Maldives to Mumbai, India.
Speaking at the press conference held today (14 March 2021). the Managing Director of the airline, Mohamed Mihadh said that they are doing the final preparations and will be able to commence the flight from Mumbai to Maafaru on April 13, 2021. He further stated that they are in contact with resorts and guesthouses in the area and expressed hopes that the resorts and guesthouses in the area take full advantage of the direct flights. The islands in the area of Maafaru airports has around 2000 tourist beds.
“We have received a great response so far, In Sha Allah, we hope to launch operations to more Indian cities.” said Mohamed Mihad. He further said that the airline has scheduled three direct flights per week.
“Because of the current length of the Maafaru runway, we are only able to accommodate short haul flights. We need to lengthen the runway in order to accommodate widebody aircrafts. I have been informed that work on lengthening the runway will begin in July this year, and we hope to complete the work by the end of the year. We plan on launching flights to Eastern European countries using widebody aircrafts as soon as the work is done” He said.
Opened in 2009, Maafaru International Airport is surrounded by multiple luxury resorts, and has seen 211 inbound private jet movements so far this year. Maafaru International Airport was funded by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) – which awarded USD 60 million in non-reimbursable financial aid toward the project – and contracted to Singaporean company, Tuff Offshore. The airport was developed to accommodate Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircrafts, and is scheduled to be further enlarged to accommodate Boing 777 twinjet.
India is currently the top source market for tourist arrivals to Maldives. The country has recorded over 50,000 tourist arrivals from India so far this year.