Thai AirAsia to begin flights to Maldives

Thailand-based low-cost airline Thai AirAsia is to begin direct flight operations between Thai capital Bangkok and Maldives starting July.

Maldives civil aviation authority on Thursday issued the licence to Thai AirAsia to operate flights to the Maldives.

An official from the authority told local media that the low cost carrier will operate a daily service from Don Mueang International Airport in Thai capital Bangkok and the Maldives main Velana International Airport. An Airbus A-320 aircraft will be used for the service, he added.

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.

With the addition of Thai AirAsia’s operations, the Male-Bangkok route will be serviced by three airlines, including the existing Maldives flagship carrier Maldivian and Bangkok Airways.

The announcement comes a few months after the Maldives and Thailand signed a preliminary agreement to increase air connectivity between the two Asian countries.

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 20.4 percent in the first four months to reach 5,104 from 4,240 in the same period of last year.

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