Emirates’ first flight since lockdown arrives in Maldives

Emirates flight lands at Velana International Airport on July 16, 2020. (Photo/MACL)

Emirates resumed its commercial operations to Maldives this Thursday, carrying 101 passengers from Dubai to Male’.

Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) has announced the flight landed at the Velana International Airport (VIA) carrying 101 passengers on Thursday afternoon.

Emirates is scheduled to operate five weekly flights between Male' and Dubai every Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Maldives had suspended on-arrival visa and closed its borders in face of the coronavirus pandemic on March 27.

The country, one of the world’s most sought after tourist destinations, reopening its borders to international travel on Wednesday.

The first commercial flight arrive in Maldives with the reopening of its borders had been a flight operated by Qatar Airways, which landed at Velana International Airport on Wednesday morning to a ceremonial water salute.

The flight carried 212 passengers; 104 tourists, 65 expatriates, and 38 locals.

In addition to Emirates, Qatar Airways and SriLankan Airlines are also scheduled to operate flights to Male’ this Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Etihad Airways is scheduled to resume operations to Maldives with two weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Male’ on its A320 starting Saturday.

Additional airlines Gulf Air, British Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, IndiGo, Silk Air, and Singapore Airlines are scheduled to resume operations in August, while Edelweiss Air is set to begin operations in September and Turkish Air in October.

The Maldivian government has announced it expects to see 850,000 tourist arrivals this year, including the 382,762 tourist arrivals recorded prior to the closure of the borders - a major blow to a country that had enjoyed a record 1.7 million tourist arrivals last year.

In an attempt to boost the country’s travel and tourism industries, MACL has rolled out significant discounts for airlines and tourist service counters, while Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) has launched a global advertising campaign with CNN to promote Maldives as a tourist destination.