China has resumed flights to the Maldives after a three-year hiatus.
China suspended flights to the Maldives when it closed its borders in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country reopened its borders on January 8.
The first flight to the Maldives since China reopened its borders arrived at Velana International Airport on Wednesday morning. The Beijing Capital Airlines flight arrived with 198 Chinese tourists. The aircraft was given a water salute upon its arrival at the airport.
The tourists were welcomed by Tourism Minister Abdulla Maumoon, Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives Wang Lixin, and MMPRC's Managing Director Thoyyib Mohamed.
The Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) has previously said that Beijing Capital Airlines will be operating a 306-passenger aircraft on its flights to the Maldives.
China Eastern Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines are also preparing to start flights to the Maldives.
China Eastern Airlines will operate flights to the Maldives from January 28 to March 25 and will fly to the Maldives once a week. The flights will be operated using a 232-passenger aircraft.
Hong Kong Airlines will fly to the Maldives three times a week. The trips will run from this month until March 23. The airline operates a 292-passenger aircraft.
China was the largest tourist destination in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Maldives received 284,029 tourists from China that year.