FlyDubai to Introduce Maldives Service

United Arab Emirates (UAE) low-cost carrier flydubai plans to introduce “affordable” air fares to the popular luxury Indian Ocean holiday archipelago of the Maldives when it inaugurates a five times weekly link between Dubai International Airport and Ibrahim Nasir International Airport on the island of Malé, from January 19, 2013.

The airline says its new service to Malé, the capital of the Republic of Maldives will allow travellers from across the region “to enjoy affordable fares to one of the world’s most renowned leisure destinations”.  The route will extend the carrier’s network in the Indian Subcontinent to nine points across six countries.

“We are very excited about adding Malé to our destination network,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith , hief Executive Officer, flydubai.  “As the first low-cost carrier from the UAE to fly to the Maldives, we are making this island paradise even more accessible to travellers across our network.”

Voted the number one island destination in the Indian Ocean by Condé Nast Traveller readers, the Maldives has advanced its tourism credentials by promoting its rich culture, vast array of luxury resort experiences, exotic culinary experiences and adventure sports ranging from paragliding to diving.  It is presently linked to the UAE by flydubai’s sister carrier Emirates Airline (Dubai) and Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi), while elsewhere in the region Oman Air, Qatar Airways and Saudia provide their own non-stop air links from Muscat, Doha and Jeddah, respectively.

Over the years the Maldives has remained committed to protecting its diverse ecology and champions environmentally-friendly activities.  The result has been a consistent growth in visitor numbers over the years, with the Maldives welcoming almost a million tourists in 2011 – a leap of 17.6 per cent over 2010, according to official Maldives Tourism statistics. 

The country has proved particularly popular amongst travellers from Russia, CIS and GCC, with figures revealing a 15.7 per cent increase in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year compared to January to March 2011.  Maldives Tourism statistics also highlight a 77.8 per cent increase in passengers from the Middle East over the same period with the growth linked to the opening of a number of Middle East-based hotel chains, such as Jumeirah Group’s Vittaveli Maldives which opened in December 2011.

“We anticipate a strong demand for flights from the GCC, in particular Kuwait, as well as markets such as Russia, CIS and Central & Eastern Europe. Thanks to our strong presence in both these regions, passengers will be able to fly to the Maldives via our Dubai hub,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith. “This will be our first launch in 2013 and we look forward to welcoming passengers from across our network to this wonderful country.”

The Maldives is widely regarded as one of the world’s top holiday spots.  It comprises of 1,190 coral islands, formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls and spread over 90,000 square kilometres. With a maximum natural ground level of only 2.4 metres, it is also the lowest country in the world, making it a water-lover’s paradise.

In the table below we highlight the top ten scheduled O&D destinations for passengers travelling between Malé’s Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in the Maldives and the Middle East. 

ESTIMATED SCHEDULED O&D DEMAND BETWEEN MALÉ’S IBRAHIM NASIR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND THE MIDDLE EAST (bi-directional O&D traffic; 2011)

Rank

Destination

Estimated O&D Passengers

% Total Demand

1

Dubai International (DXB)

94,601

51.1 %

2

Doha International (DOH)

51,852

28.0 %

3

Muscat International (MCT)

15,140

8.2 %

4

Abu Dhabi International (AUH)

5,396

2.9 %

5

Jeddah King Abdulaziz International (JED)

3,005

1.6 %

6

Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International (TLV)

2,812

1.5 %

7

Bahrain International (BAH)

2,570

1.4 %

8

Kuwait International (KWI)

2,517

1.4 %

9

Beirut Rafic Hariri (BEY)

2,319

1.3 %

10

Riyadh King Khaled International (RUH)

2,033

1.1 %

(Others)

2,730

1.5 %

TOTAL

184,978

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