Maldives, Thailand sign pact to increase flights

Maldives and Thailand have signed a preliminary agreement to increase air connectivity between the two Asian countries.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed Thursday by Maldives transport authority’s CEO Hussein Jaleel and Thai civil aviation authority’s acting director general Chula Sukmanop.

Local media reported that the MoU would allow airlines from the Maldives and Thailand to operate seven flights a week to and from each other. Fifth Freedom Flight rights for the Maldives and Thailand would also be expanded under the agreement, increasing the number of countries allowed to fly from each country to eight, the reports said.

The MoU, which is an addendum to a 1989 agreement between the Maldives and Thailand on cooperation in aviation, also covers all forms of technical assistance in the field.

Maldives flagship carrier operates direct flights to Thai capital Bangkok, which has become a popular hub amongst Maldivian business travellers. Bangkok Airways also flies to the Maldives.

Thailand is also an emerging Asian source market for the Maldives tourism industry. Official figures show that 16,451 tourists visited the Maldives from Thailand last year, a 3.4 percent rise from the year before.

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