China's Sichuan Airlines resumes flights to the Maldives

Chinese airline, Sichuan Airlines, has resumed flights to the Maldives after a seven-year gap.

The airline's inaugural flight touched down at Velana International Airport at 6:05 pm on Tuesday, carrying 186 passengers. Sichuan will operate three flights a week connecting Chengdu and Maldives.

The revived route supplements the existing air links between China and the Maldives. Beijing Capital currently operates a weekly charter flight, while China Eastern Airlines offers scheduled flights every Saturday.

The Tourism Ministry said the resumption of Sichuan Airlines flights will further boost the Maldives' tourism and economic growth.

Before the closure of the Chinese border due to COVID-19, the Chinese market was one of the most important tourism markets in the Maldives. Following the reopening of borders earlier this year, Chinese tourism has rapidly regained momentum, now ranking as the third-largest market for Maldives tourism.

More than 40 airlines currently operate to the Maldives from more than 30 destinations around the world.