Italy’s Neos to deploy first Dreamliner jet to Maldives

Italian leisure airline Neos has announced plans to deploy its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet on its operations to the Maldives, making the island nation the first destination on its network to be served using the revolutionary aircraft.

Neos, the first Italian airline to operate the Dreamliner, said the Boeing 787 aircraft will fly once a week from December 25 between its main base in Milan Malpensa Airport and the Maldives main Velana International Airport. It will take off every Monday at 8 pm in Milan to arrive in Male the next day at 9.05 am, with the return flight leaving the Indian Ocean archipelago on Tuesday at 11.05 am to land in Milan at 5.10 pm, it added.

The Dreamliner used by Neos will accommodate 28 passengers in business class and 331 in economy class.

Neos, founded in 2001 and based in Malpensa, will lease three more Dreamliner jets to gradually replace its much smaller Boeing 767-300 aircrafts. The Alpitours subsidiary also operates six Boeing 737-800s on its network of 14 destinations in Italy and 36 abroad.

The Dreamliner, which entered into service in 2011, is a pioneering airliner with the use of composite materials as the primary material in the construction of its airframe. It was designed to be 20 percent more fuel efficient than the Boeing 767, which it was intended to replace. The Dreamliner’s distinguishing features include mostly electrical flight systems, raked wingtips and noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles.

The planned deployment of a Dreamliner jet to the Maldives by an Italian airline follows a similar announcement by Italy’s flagship carrier Alitalia to begin direct flights to the Maldives. The three-weekly Rome-Male service will operate from October 31 for the whole winter season until March 24, 2018.

According to data from the Maldives government, more than 71,200 Italian tourists travelled to the Maldives in 2016. This represents an 8.5 percent growth compared to the previous year and this positive trend has continued during the first four months of this year as well.

Italy also ranks fourth amongst the originating countries for tourism to Maldives after China, Germany and United Kingdom, and ahead of much more populated countries such as India, Russia and the United States. The average stay for Italians, who were the first to spot the potential of tourism in the pristine atolls over four decades ago, in the Maldives is between four and 11 nights.

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