New Delhi, Nov 5: Maldivian, the Maldives-based airline, Monday said it will start scheduled flights between Male and New Delhi from April 2013, with an initial frequency of three flights per week.
“We are very optimistic of starting our New Delhi operations by summer of next year sometimes in April-May. Initially, we will operate three flights a week,” Bandhu Ibrahim Saleem, chairman, Maldivian said here.
According to Saleem, the operations between Male and New Delhi will be undertaken on a newly-leased Airbus A320 aircraft.
The company also has plans to start Mumbai and Chennai operations mid-November on A320 aircraft.
“We will start our Chennai operations Nov 15, 2012 followed by Mumbai operation Nov 16, 2012 on A320 aircraft,” Saleem said.
The company is optimistic that the new route expansion into India will provide it an opportunity to tap into the growing Indian tourist inflows into Maldives.
“There are many Indian tour operators who have tied with us and have pre-booked tickets for the new flight services which will be started soon,” he said.
The company also expects to carry a substantial number of medical tourists into India from the archipelago.
“Chennai, having good medical facilities, has a great potential for us to ferry medical tourists and pharmaceuticals as cargo back to the Maldives.”
The airlines plans to ferry about 3-4 tonnes of cargo daily to Male. Maldives imports nearly 10 tonnes of fresh fruits, vegetables and other items from India daily.
Air India now connects Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram to the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Male, while Maldivian connects Male with Thiruvananthapuram, with a frequency of three flights per day on propeller-powered Dash services of aircraft.