China resumes flights to Maldives after three year hiatus

Chinese tourists disembark the first flight to arrive in Maldives since the lockdown in China after outbreak of COVID-19. | Photo: Fayaz Moosa

Malé, Maldives – Air services between China and Maldives resumed today after a three-year hiatus due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Beijing Capital Airlines flight, which arrived in Maldives with 198 Chinese tourists, was given a water salute at the Velana International Airport (VIA).

The tourists were welcomed by Tourism Minister Dr Abdullah Mausoom, Chinese Ambassador to Maldives Wan Lizin and MMPRC Managing Director Thoyib Mohammed.

The Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) has previously said that Beijing Capital Airlines operates a 306-passenger aircraft on its flights to the island nation.

China Eastern Airlines and Hong Kong Airlines are also preparing to start flights to Maldives.

China Eastern Airlines will operate flights to Maldives from 28th of this month to 25th of March. The airline will fly once a week and will deploy a 232-passenger aircraft.

Hong Kong Airlines will fly three times a week. The trips will run from this month until March and the airline will operate a 292-passenger aircraft for the route.

China was the largest tourist destination in 2019 before the Covid-19 outbreak. The country received 284,029 tourists that year. According to the Ministry of Tourism, China was the market leader since 2010.

With these flights, the number of tourists coming from the Chinese market will exceed 100,000 this year, Tourism Minister Abdullah Mausoom said earlier.

The minister said he believes the number of Chinese tourists can be increased even more with the cooperation of the people. The minister said he believes that this will bring a huge boost to the economy.