Velana International Airport, August 2, 2023 – Sichuan Airlines, one of China's leading carriers, has officially resumed flights to the Maldives, signifying a pivotal moment for the country's tourism industry. The resumption flight, carrying 186 passengers, gracefully landed at Velana International Airport at 6:05 PM yesterday evening, where it was welcomed with a special water salute, symbolizing the revival of tourism connections.
Sichuan Airlines will operate three weekly flights, bridging the gap between Chengdu and Maldives. This move adds to the existing Chinese airlines operating flights to the Maldives, including Beijing Capital, which operates weekly charter flights, and China Eastern, offering weekly scheduled flights every Saturday.
The airline is resuming flights after 7 long years. The last flight was operated on 23rd March 2016.
The reopening of Sichuan Airlines' operations at Velana International Airport is poised to significantly boost Maldives tourism and stimulate economic growth. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and the temporary closure of China's borders, the Chinese market played a crucial role in driving the Maldives' tourism industry. Since the reopening of its borders earlier this year, Chinese tourism has been consistently increasing, now ranking as the fourth largest source market for the Maldives.
The Maldives, renowned for its pristine beauty, picturesque landscapes, and luxurious resorts, has been a preferred destination for Chinese travelers seeking an enchanting vacation experience. With Sichuan Airlines' resumption of flights, the Maldives is well-positioned to regain momentum in attracting Chinese tourists, further solidifying its status as an alluring global tourist hotspot.
The Maldives Airports Company, operator of Velana International Airport, continues to welcome various airlines to connect the Maldives with the rest of the world. Efforts are being made to prepare for the upcoming winter season, with flights scheduled to operate from new destinations. In October, Virgin Atlantic is set to start operations between London and Heathrow Airport, further expanding the connectivity options.
Currently, more than 40 airlines operate in the Maldives, connecting the country to over 30 destinations worldwide. The continuous efforts to enhance accessibility and connectivity demonstrate the Maldives' commitment to further developing its thriving tourism industry.