MALDIVES, 2021-Mar-17 — /Travel PR News/ — The National Airline of the Maldives, Maldivian announced that they will operate direct flights from Mumbai, India to Noonu Maafaru starting 13th April 2021.
During a press conference held today (14 Mar 2021), Managing Director of Maldivian Mohamed Mihad stated that the airline has arranged to welcome the first direct flight from Mumbai to Maafaru. “Our team has met with the resorts and guesthouses in the area and even met with Indian tour operators to make the arrangements”, he stated.
Mihad highlighted that Maafaru international airport is surrounded by roughly 10,000 tourist beds from 4 neighboring atolls; Noonu atoll, Raa atoll, Baa atoll and Lhaviyani atoll. He stated that the airlines expect resorts and guesthouses in the area to take advantage of this opportunity.
“We have received a very good response so far,” Mihad said. ” We will be operating 3 weekly flights between Maafaru and Mumbai and we hope to expand the routes to various other Indian cities.”
As the airport is in close proximity to various guesthouses, Mihad reiterated that this provides great opportunities for guesthouses in the neighboring atolls as travelers are able to reach the islands in these atolls in just under one hour via speedboat from Maafaru international airport.
Maafaru International Airport opened in 2019 and was a groundbreaking investment for the development of the Noonu atoll. It provided various economic benefits for the guesthouse industry and luxury island resorts within the proximity. As per Island Aviation, the airport has seen a steady increase in the number of jet landings since the border reopening. Maafaru International Airport recorded 253 jet landings in 2020.
“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” Mihad stated.<
Maafaru airport was developed with a grant aid of US$ 60 million from the United Arab Emirates’s (UAE) Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. The airport was developed by a Singaporean company. The airport boasts a 2,200-meter long runway and is 40 meters wide with a state-of-the-art terminal with a VIP lounge. The airport can land large aircrafts such as Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 and is managed by Maldivian.
Commencement of direct flights between Mumbai and Maafaru will have great economic benefits to both the guesthouse industry and the luxury resorts. India is currently the top source market to the Maldives with an arrival figure of over 46,500 arrivals as of March 4th 2021.
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Source: Visit Maldives