Flyme to resume flights to Maldives south
Local airline Flyme has announced plans to resume scheduled operations to the southern tip of the Maldives.
Abdulla Nashid, Managing Director of Flyme’s operator Villa Air, told local media last week that the daily service to Addu and Fuvahmulah would begin on Thursday. It is possible because of a recent fleet expansion that saw the addition of a third aircraft to its fleet, he said.
The new ATR 42-500 aircraft, which has a seating capacity of 48, arrived in the Maldives early this month.
Financial trouble forced Flyme to downsize its operations in 2015, halting its operations to Addu, Fuvahmulah, Kaadehdhoo in Gaaf Dhaalu atoll and Kooddoo in 2015.
Addu and Fuvahmulah are currently serviced only by flagship carrier Maldivian.
Addu, a relatively large atoll with unique geographical features compared to other parts of the island nation, is home to two of the some 120 tourist resorts in the Maldives; Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa and Canareef Resort Maldives.
Government has, however, recently launched a project to develop 3,000 beds in Addu to cater to backpackers and budget travellers.
Tourism in the south has also received a much needed boost from the launch of direct flights to Gan International Airport by SriLankan Airlines.
Neighbouring Sri Lanka’s flagship carrier, which is particularly popular amongst tourists who travel to the Maldives from Europe, currently operates four weekly flights to Gan from Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo and is expected to increase frequency on the route to six flights per week from September.
Flyme, part of the Villa Group of Companies owned by local business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim, had its maiden flight on October 1, 2011 between Velana International Airport and Villa Air’s own domestic airport on the island of Maamigili in Alif Dhaal atoll.
The airline currently operates daily flights between Male and Maamigili, and serves another nine domestic airports across the archipelago with weekly services. In addition to catering to locals, Flyme carries tourists to the resorts in Alif Dhaal atoll, including Villa’s own Holiday Island Resort and Sun Island Resort and Spa.