Maldivian crew. (File Photo/Maldivian)

Maldivian to lease 2 wide-body aircraft for nonstop intl direct flights

China's destinations have been identified as the top priorities of the project, the President's Office said.

17 December 2023

President Mohamed Muizzu on Sunday decided to introduce two wide-body aircraft to start nonstop direct flights by flag carrier Maldivian to tourist destinations.

This decision followed discussions on a paper submitted by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation during Sunday's cabinet meeting.

According to official figures, 48% of tourists arrive through connecting flights, as there are no direct flights from the countries with the highest number of visitors to the Maldives. The majority of European tourists to the Maldives arrive through Middle Eastern connecting flights.

In a statement, the President's Office said Maldivian will offer nonstop direct flights to select regions of China, Europe, and South Africa. China's destinations have been identified as the top priorities of the project, it added.

"There will be a minimum of two or three weekly direct flights between the vicinity and the Maldives," the statement read.

The introduction of wide-body aircraft operations for the national airline is a key component of the government's Hafuthaa 14 roadmap or the first 100-day pledges. 

Flag carrier Maldivian had in February invited proposals to dry lease two A330-200 aircraft for the airline. However, no updates have been given since then.

Maldivian's international operations currently include destinations in India and Bangladesh only. 

Maldivian has also recently brought in three ATR 72 aircraft for use in domestic flights.

The airline is in the process of adding new planes to its fleet and plans to change its logo and branding.