Domestic air travel suspended following Male’ lockdown

A Maldivian flight flies over Maafaru Airport. (File Photo/Sun/Ahmed Awshan Ilyas)

The national airline, Maldivian, on Wednesday, announced the suspension of domestic transport services following the identification of the first case of COVID-19 in the capital, Male’ City.

Maldivian announced the decision in a tweet this evening.

“We inform our customers that domestic transport services will remain suspended until the HPA provides further instructions, following the lockdown on Male’ City in connection to COVID-19,” announced the airline.

Meanwhile, Manta Air has also announced the suspension of its chartered flight operations in light of the lockdown. It said it would resume its operations upon further instructions by HPA.

Domestic air travel has dropped drastically following the emergence of COVID-19 cases in Maldives. Only Maldivian had continued to operate scheduled flights, while Manta Air and FlyMe had operated only chartered flights.

The populous Male’ City identified its first COVID-19 case this Wednesday; a woman who resides in Maafannu district and has no recent travel history overseas. The case prompted the Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru to order a 24-hour lockdown on Male’ City and its suburbs – Hulhumale’ and Vilimale’, effective from 3:30 pm.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had the most impact on the aviation industry. International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects the Maldivian aviation industry to sustain losses exceeding USD 500 million due to the pandemic.