Domestic fare cannot be reduced without gov't subsidies: Island Aviation

The fare charged for domestic flights can only be reduced with government subsidies, Island Aviation's Managing Director Mohamed Mihad has said.

Officials of Island Aviation, who operates the national airline Maldivian, were produced before the State Owned Enterprises (SOE) Committee of the Parliament on Monday over the increase in domestic flight fares.

Speaking at the committee, Mihad said the government reduced the price of domestic flights in 2019 in line with its first 100 days pledges. Although the government paid MVR 35 million in subsidies that year, the company suffered a loss of MVR 125 million the same year, Mihad said.

Mihad further said the government had not subsidized the company for the past two years. The ticket price increase was due to the company's financial situation and operating expenses, he said.

Maldivian currently flies to 14 airports. Island Aviation said the company is forced to operate flights even if the load is not met. As a result, the company suffers losses. Island Aviation also noted that Maldivian's Dash aircraft are old and have high maintenance costs.