Maldivian to launch direct flights to tourism source markets

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

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, under the advisement of his cabinet, decided on Sunday to introduce a wide-body aircraft operation to start nonstop direct flights by the national airline, Maldivian, between Maldives and top source markets for tourist arrivals to the country.

President Muizzu made the decision following discussions on a paper submitted by the Transport Ministry during a cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Tourists from many of the top source markets currently travel to the Maldives via connecting flights.

48 percent of passengers travel to the Maldives on connecting flights. The majority of European tourists visit the Maldives after transiting in the Middle East.

Once the project is underway, Maldivian will offer nonstop direct flights to select regions of China, Europe, and South Africa.

According to the government, destinations in China have been identified as the top priorities of the project. Upon the operation’s commencement, there will be a minimum of two or three weekly direct flights between Maldives and China.

Tourists at Velana International Airport on December 17, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The introduction of wide-body aircraft operations for the national airline is a component of the administration's 'Hafuthaa 14' roadmap.

Back when Maldives ran Air Maldives, it has operated direct flights between Maldives and top source markets. However, the airline later went bankrupt.

The latest statistics show that 1,757,937 tourists visited the Maldives as of December 11.

Russia remains the top tourist market to the Maldives with 197,824 arrivals. India is in second place with 194,630 arrivals.


  • Russia: 197,824 arrivals
  • India: 194,630 arrivals
  • China: 181,003 arrivals
  • UK: 144,415 arrivals
  • Germany: 127,896 arrivals
  • Italy: 104,411 arrivals
  • US: 69,426 arrivals
  • France: 45,849 arrivals
  • Spain: 38,645 arrivals
  • Switzerland: 34,890 arrivals

Maldives, which was recently crowned the World’s Leading Destination for the fourth year running at the 2023 World Travel Awards, had initially targeted 1.8 tourist arrivals for this year, but later revised the figure to 1.9 million – which will be the highest number of tourists recorded in the country’s history.

The country had recorded its highest tourist arrivals in 2019, with 1.7 visitors.