Thai AirAsia begins Maldives operations with daily Bangkok-Male direct service
Thailand-based low-cost airline Thai AirAsia began its operations to the Maldives on Saturday.
Thai AirAsia’s maiden flight to the Maldives landed at the country’s main Velana International Airport Saturday morning.
In a statement, Maldives state-owned tourism promotion company Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) said Thai AirAsia will open doors for all kinds of visitors to the Maldives, including budget and luxury travellers.
“This is a huge milestone achieved to the tourism industry of Maldives and AirAsia which will change
the perspective of travellers which portrays Maldives as only a luxury destination,” the statement read.
Thai AirAsia operates a non-stop daily service from Don Mueang International Airport in Thai capital Bangkok to the Maldives main airport. A 180-seat Airbus A320 single-aisle aircraft with only economy class configuration is used for the service.
With the introduction of Thai AirAsia’s operations, the Male-Bangkok route will be served by three airlines, including the Maldives flagship carrier Maldivian and Bangkok Airways. Fares on the route are expected to see a significant reduction as Thai AirAsia has already offered a special introductory fare of USD 99.
Thai AirAsia is a joint venture of Malaysian low-fare airline AirAsia, which already flies to the Maldives, and Thailand’s Asia Aviation. It serves AirAsia’s regularly scheduled domestic and international flights from Bangkok and other cities in Thailand.
Bangkok has become a popular hub amongst Maldivian business travellers.
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. That growth has continued this year as well, with arrivals from Thailand increasing 18.9 percent in the first half of the year to reach 9,276 from 7,802 in the same period of last year.