The number of private jets that landed at the Velana International Airport this year is up 53% from the last pre-pandemic year.
More than 2,600 private jets arrived by the end of November compared to 1,702 jets in 2019, Hassan Areef, general manager of the Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL), told the press at a ceremony held on Tuesday to welcome the 1.6 millionth tourist of 2022.
“Considering arriving passengers, our recovery compared to 2019 is at about 98%,” Areef told reporters at the airport. “This is just from January to November, meaning it will exceed very much by the end of the year.”
Aircraft movements are also up 10% from 24,864 in 2019 to 27,296 so far this year, he added. Eight airlines that suspended flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 have resumed flights for this year’s winter season, including British Airways and Air France.
The Christmas-New Year period is traditionally the peak or high season for the Maldives tourism industry. On Monday, MACL advised passengers to arrive at the airport three hours before departure “to avoid long lines and any delays.”