Maldivian postpones launch of Maafaru-Mumbai flights due to virus fears

Maldivian's A321 aircraft at Maafaru International Airport. (Photo/Maldivian)

The national carrier, Maldivian Airlines has announced the decision to postpone the launch of direct flights between N. Maafaru and Mumbai due to the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in the densely populated Indian city.

Maldivian states that the launch of Maafaru-Mumbai flights has been postponed to May 9.

The flights were originally scheduled to begin on April 13.

Opened in 2019, Maafaru International Airport is surrounded by multiple luxury resorts, and is seeing a high volume of private jet movements.

Maafaru International Airport is surrounded by approximately 10,000 tourist beds, and Maldivian has stated it expects neighboring resorts and guesthouses to make use of the opportunity direct flights from Mumbai will provide.

Maafaru International Airport was funded by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) – which awarded USD 60 million in non-reimbursable financial aid toward the project - and contracted to Singaporean company, Tuff Offshore. The airport was developed to accommodate Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircrafts, and is scheduled to be further enlarged to accommodate Boing 777 twinjet.

Maldives has recorded over 327,000 tourist arrivals so far this year, and India is currently the top source market for tourist arrivals to the island destination.

Maldivian has stated it plans on operating three weekly flights between Maafaru and Mumbai.