Manta Air suspends Kooddoo flights, reduces frequency on rest amidst coronavirus outbreak

Manta Air on Monday announced temporary route suspensions and schedule changes due to the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Manta Air said all flights to Kooddoo Airport in Gaafu Alif atoll will be temporarily suspended effective March 29. Frequency on the services to Dharavandhoo Airport in Baa atoll and Dhaalu Airport in Dhaalu atoll will be reduced with immediate effect, it added.

“This action comes in light of the rapidly growing global Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on the domestic aviation industry. Due to these impacts and the resulting actions carried out in the fight to combat the spread of the virus, there has been a significant decline in demand across all domestic routes with an increasing number of cancellations of bookings,” the statement read.

With the route suspensions and frequency changes, Manta Air has also introduced a flexible policy for date changes and cancellations.

Manta Air advised customers to check its website for the latest updates.

“We at Manta Air remain unwavering in its commitment to stand together with our community and relevant authorities at this time to recover from this unprecedented turn of events. We would like to thank all our customers who have continued to support us, and we hope you will continue to fly with us when the time is right,” the airline said, in its statement.

Manta Air, the five star experience in the skies of Maldives, began its service just over a year ago.

The arrival of Manta Air has been a game changer in the domestic aviation industry, removing the fears of flight uncertainty for passengers flying in the Maldives, and setting new standards in service excellence along the way with pre-published schedules and a tailored approach to provide an amazing experience to all passengers.

The airline currently utilises three brand new ATR 72-600 aircraft to operate domestic flights to Dhaalu Airport, located on the island of Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu atoll, Dharavandhoo Airport, located on the island of Dharavandhoo in Baa atoll, and Kooddoo Airport, located on the island of Kooddoo in Gaafu Alif atoll, from the main Velana International Airport.

Manta Air had also launched the first scheduled seaplane service in the Maldives, bringing another revolutionary experience to the skies of Maldives. The airline had brought in six DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft for its seaplane service.

On March 8, Maldives reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus, as two hotel employees tested positive for Covid-19 at a luxury resort in the archipelago.

Eleven more cases — all foreigners working or staying resorts and liveaboard vessels — have since been identified. All the patients are under isolation, being treated at designated quarantine facilities.

Maldives announced a state of public health emergency on Thursday, the first such declaration under a recent public health protection law.

The public health emergency declaration has allowed the government to introduce a series of unprecedented restrictive and social distancing measures, including a 14-day ban on inter-island travel of tourists, including for excursions and between resort islands.

Guesthouses and hotels in capital Male and its suburbs of Hulhumale and Villimale have also been shut down for two weeks.

The Maldives had closed its borders to arrivals from the worst-hit countries, including mainland China, Italy, Bangladesh, Iran and Spain. Visitors from three regions of Germany (Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg), two regions of France (Île-de-France and Grand Est) and two regions of South Korea are also banned from entering the country.

Cruise ships had also been banned from docking at any of the country’s ports.

All direct flights to and from China, Italy, South Korea and Iran had also been cancelled.

The island nation had installed thermal screening cameras at its international airports.

Quarantine facilities, including designated islets from the 1,192 islands that make up the archipelago, had also been established.

The global coronavirus outbreak is expected to hit the Maldivian economy hard, as tourism contributes the bulk of the island nation’s state revenue and foreign reserves.

The government has already announced several cost cutting measures, including a freeze on the hiring of new staff and suspension of non-essential travel by state officials.

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