18 airlines are expected to resume operations to Maldives by the end of November
The Minister of Tourism, Honorable Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, has stated that by the end of November, 18 airlines are expected to resume operations to Maldives. He added that these 18 airlines will connect Maldives to the globe and that “it is time to visit or revisit Maldives.”
As of now, there are more than a dozen flights operating to Maldives since the reopening of borders for international tourists on 15th July 2020, and there are several more on the way. Some of these airlines include Air Astana, Air Seychelles, Austrian Airways, British Airways, Go Air, Gulf Air, Fly Dubai and Lufthansa.
Air Astana is set to offer direct flights between Kazakhstan and Maldives this winter season. From 5th December, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan will fly between Almaty and Male twice a week, with flights operating every Wednesday and Thursday. The airline’s brand-new Airbus 321LR aircraft will be used for the Maldives service.
Air Seychelles announced that the airline will operate passenger services from Johannesburg to Maldives between 4th December 2020 and 9th January 2021. The flights scheduled every Friday night from Johannesburg will provide travelers the chance to plan ahead for the festive holiday season now that both Seychelles and Maldives are open for international travelers.
Austrian Airlines resumed flights to Maldives with two flights every week, on Thursdays and Saturdays.
British Airways had resumed its flights from Heathrow Airport, London to Velana International Airport with three weekly flights on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the UK going into a 4-week lockdown, the flights are halted for the moment.
Additionally, GoAir has resumed its flights to Maldives under the travel bubble currently established between Maldives and India. Three airlines are currently traveling to Maldives under this special arrangement, including Air India and SpiceJet. 11 weekly flights are scheduled to be operated.
Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, is set to resume its direct flights to and from Maldives with two weekly flights starting from 12th December. The flights between Bahrain International Airport and Velana International Airport will be operated by the airline’s newest Airbus 321neoLR which features 150 seats in economy class and 16 flat-bed seats in Falcon Gold class.
On an even more positive note, Flydubai has resumed flights to Maldives after a two-year hiatus. The Dubai-based carrier initially operated between 2013 and 2018. As Maldives reopened its borders, there was a popular demand for the resumption of Flydubai flights to Maldives, as well as the Indian Ocean itself. Flydubai flights operate four times a week to Male’ on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Flight FZ 1569 departs from Terminal Three, Dubai International (DXB) at 10:35AM and the return flight FZ 1570 departs from Velana International Airport at 11:30PM. This brings the number of destinations Flydubai operates to 40 across its network in Africa, Central Asia, Europe, Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East. The carrier has been successfully increasing its operations since July and continues to operate all-cargo flights and repatriation flights in addition to its published schedule, at a gradual place.
Last, but not least, German airline giant Lufthansa has also resumed its flights between Maldives and Germany. According to the schedule, the service will also extend to year-round, with two weekly flights offered in the summer of 2021:
- LH704 FRA2005 – 0855+1MLE 333 26
- LH705 MLE1050 – 1805 FRA 333 37
The reopening of borders came with stringent safety measures in place to ensure the safety of both tourists and staff. Tourists are required to fill an online health declaration form within 24 hours prior to departure and also present a negative COVID-19 test, conducted 96 hours prior to departure to the Maldives.
Resorts and liveaboards resumed operations in July, simultaneously with the reopening, whereas guest houses opened up for tourists again on 15th October. Tourists and locals in these islands with guesthouses are required to wear masks at all times. Along with these regulations, there are many other measures in place to ensure that tourists have a safe, yet wonderful experience in Maldives.
Maldives has also introduced the first COVID-19 travel insurance in the country, Allied Inbound, which covers medical charges, isolation facility charges, emergency medical transportation charges and interment charges following a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 during their stay in the country.
Prior to the lockdown on 27th March, Maldives observed 382, 760 tourist arrivals. Since the reopening of borders, there have been over 37,000 arrivals up until now, with tourist arrivals from major markets such as the Middle East, India and UAE.