SriLankan Airlines begins flights between Male’ and London

Water canon salute given to Sri Lankan Airlines first scheduled flight to Gan International Airport in Addu City, 2017 | Photo: Maldives Insider

Male’, Maldives – SriLankan Airlines has begun direct London-Maldives flights today, connecting Velana International Airport (VIA) to Heathrow Airport.

SriLankan Airlines, who was crowned as the World’s Leading Airline in the Indian Ocean at the prestigious 27th World Travel Awards for the 5th consecutive year, will be operating London-Male’ flights twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. These flights will be taking approximately 10 hours as it the two countries are 8,458 kilometres apart.

The flights will be departing from the major international airport in London, Heathrow airport at 1930 hrs and is expected to arrive to the main international airport of Maldives, VIA at 1050 hrs. This flight will be leaving the Maldives at 1140 hours and is expected to land in Heathrow at 1800 hrs.

The Sri Lankan airline will be following the same route until April 31 of 2021 along with its Oneworld alliance partner, the British Airways. The British Airways has already resumed direct Heathrow-Male’ flights on the 5th of December.

The second largest UK based carrier, British Airways is scheduled to travel between Maldives and Heathrow on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. It will be departing from Heathrow at 1815 hrs and is expected to arrive to Maldives at 0940 hrs. However, on Saturday, the airline will be departing from Heathrow at 2120 hrs and arriving at 0045 hrs.

Maldives, recently celebrated the 100,000th toursits since borders reopened in July, with statistincs by the Minsitry of Tourism rereleasing that the U.K. has remained as the third largest tourist market after borders reopened. More than 8,200 British citizens have come to the Maldives since July, with this number expected to greatly increase as both British Airways and SriLankan are now operating direct flights between the countries.

While SriLankan continues to connect VIA with major cities around the globe, they have yet to resume flights to Gan International Airport. Before the pandemic, Sri Lankan was the only international airline that had scheduled direct flights to Gan International Airport, and brought in most of the city’s tourism. The delay in resuming flights to the airport in Addu City has severely hindered the city’s tourism from recovering.

As of October 25, tourists traveling from Maldives are allowed to enter the United Kingdom without the need for mandatory isolation. This is why, the number of tourists have consecutively increased. While tourists are also not required to go through mandatory quarantine in Maldives, the number of tourist arrivals have increased by a great extent despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.