Sri Lankan Airlines has resumed operation to southernmost Addu City after a one-year hiatus.
Sri Lanka - Addu City operations were suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed operation on December 4. The first scheduled flight landed at Gan International Airport (GIA) on Saturday afternoon. A special ceremony was held at the airport to welcome the aircraft, with senior officials from several ministries in attendance.
Senior Policy Director of the Tourism Ministry, Ibrahim Farhad, also attended the ceremony. He said that the resumption of flights would become a motivation to sell the tourist beds available in the Addu atoll.
'We expect Herethere' resort to reach operational status the soonest and open the resort by December 24th. The inspection process has been completed. The commencement of these flights will motivate to fill more tourist beds,' Farhad said.
Sri Lankan Airlines will operate one weekly flight to GIA every Saturday. Thirty-five tourists traveled to Addu via the maiden flight to the city, including European tourists.
The airlines' local agent, Ace Aviation's owner, Mohamed Firaq, said the airline would increase flights according to demand.
'This flight will link UAE and Europe market, so we will monitor the demand and increase flights as needed,' Firaq said.
Sri Lankan Airlines recommenced Addu flights following several discussions with the Maldives' government. The airline has requested the government to resolve some issues at the airport and to provide domestic connectivity for their flights. Lack of Gan-Huvadhoo connectivity has previously caused problems with bed availability.
As per reports, the national carrier, Maldivian, will provide Fuvahmulah and Huvadhoo connectivity, although the arrangements have not been made official yet. Firaq has previously said there does not seem to be much progress on providing Gan - Huvadhoo connectivity.
Sri Lankan Airlines first commenced international flights to Addu City on December 1, 2016. The airline opened an office in the city before the commencement of flights on November 1, 2016.