Addu City, Maldives – Managing Director of Addu International Airport, Qais Naseer has revealed that the necessary preparations required to begin seaplane operations between Addu and Huvadhoo are underway in full speed and that the flights are scheduled to start in November.
Qais said that this schedule is as per the agreement made between the flag carrier of Maldives, Maldivian, which states that the operation must commence within 45 days of signing the agreement. He detailed that to ensure that there are no delays, work on repairing the seaplane terminal and the platforms have been initiated, which, when completed would be up to the standards of Maldives Civil Aviation Authority. He also revealed that a special team of Maldivian has been working on the project as well.
The agreement to start seaplane operations between Addu City and Huvadhoo atoll was signed between Maldivian and Addu International Airports Company Limited, on 5th October, 2020.
The agreement signing ceremony, which was held at Gan International Airport, was attended by Tourism Minister of Maldives Dr. Abdullah Mausoom, Economic Minister Ismail Fayyaz, Parliament Members representing Addu and Huvadhoo constituencies, as well as representatives of Addu City Council.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Mausoom said that the government is doing a lot to develop the tourism industry in the northern and southern region of the country and that the agreement signed to commence sea plane operations between these two atolls is “a new move towards making the business formula successful”.
Speaking further on the matter, highlighting the lack of bed capacity in the region, Minister Mausoom said that even at present, there are more than 2,400 beds which are yet to open in the region and that this is not an adequate number for international flights to operate. He explained that an additional 6,000 beds would be required to make the investment feasible.
However, given the situation some sacrificed need to be made, and that sacrifice is being made by the government, said the Minister. “The decision being made today is whether flights will not be operated until the 6,000 bed capacity is ensured, or whether flights will be operated until the 6,000 bed quota is met, or whether it would be done either way with losses shared by the companies.” Minister Mausoom stated.
Reminding the gathering that the year 2022 would mark 50 years since Maldives introduced tourism into the country, Minister Mausoom said that the bed capacity will continue to increase and that by 2022, the tourism industry of the south will become a profitable business.
The tourism industry of Maldives suffered immensely since Maldives the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020, however, with the number of cases decreasing and medical advancements being made in the field, Maldives has reopened its borders for tourists on July 15th.