Renewed hope with increase in flight movements

A record number of flight movements were recorded at Maldives’ main Velana International Airport (VIA) since the archipelago opened its borders in July.

Statistics released by Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) showed 147 flight movements were recorded on October 11. This includes 39 runway movements and 108 seaplane movements. This is the single-most number of flight movements recorded over the past three months.

Speaking at a webinar organized by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and BBC, MACL’s Manager Hassan Areef said flight arrivals have increased by 60 percent since July 15. While 30 flights have filed for operation and 11 airlines are now in operation, British Airways will recommence operation on October 17, said Areef. Emirates has also increased the number of flights, he added. The increase in flight movements bring hope to the sector, said Areef.

MACL further said increasing the confidence of visitors and airlines in the Maldives is vital, and noted that Aviation Council International (ACI)’s certification recently obtained by VIA has boosted customer confidence.

The number of tourist arrivals is increasing day by day with the increase in flight arrivals. While 600 tourists arrive daily on average, 22,000 tourists have visited the Maldives since the tourism-dependent nation reopened its borders. Although the government previously aimed to host 800,000 arrivals this year, the figure has since been revised based on the current global circustance due to COVID-19. The government now aims to welcome 100,000 tourists during the remainder of the year.