COVID-19 pandemic may cost Maldives airlines $507 mln

The International Aviation Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that the Maldivian aviation industry will suffer a loss of US$ 507 million as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Citing a report published by IATA, Maldives Insider reported that it is likely that airlines in Maldives will lose more than US$ 500 million in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, risking over 28,000 jobs.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, IATA had estimated that Maldives' airlines would carry over 2.1 million passengers in 2020, earning approximately US$ 1.4 billion. However, the association predicts 2,124,000 fewer passengers in the Maldives in 2020. This 40% decline in demand will cause revenue losses of US$ 507 million, estimated IATA.

Currently, four local airlines operate in the Maldives. They are; Manta Air, Trans Maldivian Airways; Villa Group's FlyMe and flagship carrier Maldivian. All the domestic airlines in Maldives except Maldivian have suspended passenger operations and gone on stand-by. The national airline has also suspended flights to some destinations. Maldives Immigration has temporarily suspended issuing visas on arrival, due to which the decline in flights operated to Maldives is expected to remain the same until the restrictions are lifted.

The Maldives economy has suffered a major blow as a result of the global pandemic. The revenue earned by the archipelago is expected to decline significantly with tourism activities coming to a stand-still as a result of the outbreak. While the government previously estimated a revenue of MVR 29 billion for the current year, the number is now expected to fall to MVR 11 billion. Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer has stated that the state budget will suffer a deficit of MVR 12 billion during the current fiscal year.