Gulf Air to begin Maldives service on Oct 26 with five weekly direct flights

Bahrain’s flagship carrier Gulf Air has announced plans to operate five weekly non-stop flights to the Maldives starting October 26.

Gulf Air will operate five weekly non-stop flights from Bahrain International Airport, departing at 11.20pm and landing at 6.25am local time and then an onward journey to Colombo at 7.25am, landing at 9.25am. The return flight begins in Colombo at 4.55pm, arrival in Male at 5.55pm and departing to the Kingdom of Bahrain at 6.55pm, landing at 10.05pm.

This route will be served by Gulf Air’s third and newest Airbus A320neo jet, which was welcomed into the airline’s fleet on Saturday. This is part of a major fleet development project, which will see the airline receive a total of 12 Airbus A320neo aircraft by the end of 2023.

“We are proud of this fantastic milestone as we continue with our brand promise in expanding our fleet along with our network,” Krešimir Kučko, Chief Executive Officer at Gulf Air, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“With its tranquil beaches and crystal clear waters; the Maldives is a breath-taking destination that fits perfectly in our new boutique strategy where we cater to the premium traveller seeking a tropical holiday wrapped in luxury, endorsed by our excellent connectivity through Bahrain International Airport.”

Gulf Air’s A320neo is the most advanced and fuel-efficient version of the single-aisle A320 aircraft family. Featuring the widest single aisle cabin in the market, the new aircraft is equipped with LEAP-1A engines from CFM International and feature large wingtip devices known as Sharklets. The A320neo is also more eco-friendly with 5,000 tonnes less CO2 emissions per year per aircraft, and nearly 50 per cent reduction in noise footprint compared to previous generation aircraft.

Since its establishment in 1950, Gulf Air has become a major international carrier, serving 50 destinations in 28 countries across Africa, Asia and Europe. The airline operates double daily flights or more to 10 regional cities, in addition to select destinations in the Indian subcontinent and Europe, from its hub at Bahrain International Airport.

Gulf Air operates a modern fleet of 36 aircraft, with orders for 37 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft due for delivery commencing in early next year.

Middle East has become an emerging source market for the Maldives.

In 2018, 52,114 tourists from Middle Eastern countries visited the Maldives — a 5.9 per cent increase over the 49,193 in 2017. This growth is set to continue this year, as arrivals from the Middle East posted a 16.7 per cent growth in the first four months of the year to reach 19,253 from 16,497 in the same period last year.

Major airlines in the Middle East, including Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Oman Air and Saudia already operate flights to the Maldives.

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