Etihad Airways to increase Maldives frequency to 11 flights per week
Etihad Airways on Wednesday announced four additional weekly flights on the popular Abu Dhabi – Male route, taking frequency to the Maldives to 11 services a week from June next year.
In a statement, the Emirati flagship carrier said the extra flights, effective June 15, 2018, will operate year-round, and provide more travel options with an early morning arrival, enabling guests to maximise their stay in the Maldives. The additional flights will operate every Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it added.
According to Etihad Airways, in addition to providing greater choice and flexibility for UAE and GCC residents, overall connectivity and timing options between the Maldives and key countries on the airline’s European network will be enhanced. These include the major markets of the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Russia, it said.
“We are increasing frequency to 11 flights a week in order to cater to growing demand on the route, and to provide our guests with more choice of flights so that they can make the most of their stay in the Maldives,” Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways CEO, was quoted in the statement, as saying.
The expansion from the current daily operation will continue to see a two-class A320 aircraft on the route, offering 16 seats in Business Class and 120 in Economy.
Since launching the route in November 2011, Etihad Airways has flown more than 550,000 passengers to and from the Maldives.
Visitors to the Maldives from the UAE increased 35 percent over the past 12 months, while Europe continues to be the main source market for the island nation, one of the world’s premium honeymoon and leisure destinations.
The announcement by Etihad Airways comes as several international airlines, including Dubai based Emirates, increased flight frequency to the island nation for the peak tourist season.
From October 29, Emirates increased its fight frequency from four to five a day.
Beijing Capital Airlines has from October 29 shifted to a daily service from four times a week service, while Hainan Airlines, which flies to the Maldives from the Chinese Shenzhen city, will from December 27 begin operating two flights a week.
From October 30, Malaysia-based low-cost airline AirAsia has also added four flights per week to its existing daily service. It will be followed by an increase in January 2018 to nine flights per week from a four times weekly service by SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines.
December to April is considered the peak tourist season, as these months constitute summers in Maldives. Between December and April, the islands boast of dry weather, making it ideal for tourists to travel and enjoy the tropical environment.
Resorts across the archipelago organise special activities for the festive season, which falls during the peak tourist season. Popular resorts such as Baros Maldives, Amilla Fushi and Finolhu Maldives, Soneva Fushi, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, Mirihi Island Resort, Niyama Private Islands Maldives, Kandima Maldives, Jumeirah Vittaveli, Lily Beach Resort and Spa, and Kurumba Maldives have announced their festive programmes for this year.