Maldivian airline to connect Chennai, Mumbai from November

Chennai, Sep 27: With growing passenger traffic between the Maldives and India, Maldivian, the national airlines of the Maldives will fly to Mumbai and between Chennai and Dhaka from November and connect New Delhi and Kolkata later, said a top official.

“We will be connecting Chennai-Dhaka and Mumbai from November onwards. We will look at flying between New Delhi and Kolkata later. We have landing rights in the four metros,” Abdul Haris, managing director at Island Aviation Services Ltd told reporters here Wednesday.

The $50 million-worth Island Aviation owns the Maldivian airline.

Haris said the airline will soon add an aircraft to its fold to connect the new destinations.

Already, Maldivian connects Male and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.

According to Maldives deputy minister for tourism, arts and culture Mohammed Maleeh Jamal, the tourist traffic to Maldives has grown four percent last year but much lower than the growth rates achieved the previous year.

“The economic down turn in Europe and the US has slightly affected the tourist arrivals to Maldives,” he said.

According to him, a majority of the 930,000 tourists to Maldives last year were from Europe while 30,000 were from India.

“With direct flights to Chennai and Mumbai, we can explore the tourist market potential in India,” Jamal said.

Speaking to IANS, he said the Maldives is also looking at investments from India in the field of healthcare and infrastructure.

Medical tourism from Maldives to India also offers good opportunity for Indian healthcare providers.