India’s SpiceJet announces direct Trivandrum-Male flights
Low-cost Indian airline SpiceJet has announced direct flights between Thiruvananthapuram (commonly referred to by its former name of Trivandrum) and Maldives.
In an announcement, the Gurgaon based airline said daily flight operations between the southern Indian city of Trivandrum and Maldives capital Male will begin on May 10. The flight will leave Trivandrum International Airport at 12.25pm local time and will land in Velana International Airport at 1.25pm local time, while the flight back to Trivandrum will leave the Maldives at 2.15pm local time and land in India at 4.05pm local time, it added.
The low-cost carrier has announced introductory fares of Rs. 4,999 (USD 78) for Trivandrum-Male route and Rs. 6,999 (USD 109) for Male-Trivandrum flights.
SpiceJet, the third largest airline in India by number of passengers carried with a market share of 13.2 percent as of March, already operates a daily direct connection between the Indian port city of Kochi and Male.
India is the most frequently visited country by Maldivians, especially those seeking professional healthcare abroad. Trivandrum has traditionally been amongst the most visited cities by Maldivians for medical treatment, and several Maldivian families also reside in the city for long-term treatment and for studies.
Trivandrum-Male route is currently serviced only by the flagship carriers of Maldives and India, Maldivian and Air India.
Introduction of direct flight operations between Trivandrum, India’s largest city in the deep south, and Male by a low-cost airline is expected to help both the countries, and further boost tourist arrivals to the Maldives from India, which has become a major emerging source market for the Maldives’ tourism industry.
Official figures show that 66,955 tourists arrived in Maldives from its closest neighbour last year, a 27.9 percent increase from the 52,368 Indian travellers that chose the Maldives in 2015.
That growth is expected to continue this year as well, as the number of Indian tourists that visited the Maldives recorded a 21.1 percent increase in the first three months to reach 17,156 compared to 14,171 in the same period last year.