Charter airlines to Maldives doubles from pre-pandemic figure

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The number of charter airlines flying to the country has doubled from the pre-pandemic level, according to the Maldives Airport Company Ltd (MACL).

Eight charter airlines presently fly to the Maldives with the Russian Nordwind and European Klasjet expected to start operations in the near future, MACL said on Wednesday.

“We believe this will have a positive impact on tourism across the nation,” added the state-owned company, which manages the Velana International Airport.

The eight charter airlines that presently flies to the Maldives are Azur Air, Gullivair, LOT Polish, Ukraine International, Scat Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways, Blu Air, and Mongolian Airlines.

After the Maldives reopened its borders in July 2020, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways were the first airlines to resume operations. Most other major airlines resumed flights before November 2020. As of last week, 29 airlines have scheduled flights to the Maldives.

Despite the complete absence of Chinese tourists and setbacks such as the temporary border closure to South Asian tourists earlier this year, tourist arrivals in 2021 have reached nearly 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels. The government’s optimistic target of 1.3 million visitors is expected to be met by the end of December.