Maldivian, the national carrier of the Maldives, will launch direct flights to Dhaka from Malé via Chennai from November 15, officials said yesterday.
This is the first time any airline is providing direct air connectivity between the cities of Malé, Chennai and Dhaka. Flights to and from Dhaka are planned for operation on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Maldivian, a full service airline, will operate an Airbus A320 aircraft with a configuration of 14 business class, 24 premium economy and 114 economy class on the Dhaka-Chennai- Malé route.
The flights will help promote tourism in the Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) region and give hassle-free travel to the Bangladeshis working in the islands country.
Maldivian is owned and operated by Island Aviation Services Ltd, the leading domestic carrier in the country.
The new routes to and from the Bangladeshi capital are mainly to support medical tourism, business travel and the leisure market.
With direct flights, the airline is expecting an increase in the number of tourist arrivals to Dhaka as well as to the Maldives, said Aishath Farah Habib, head of sales and marketing of Maldivian.
The Bangladeshis working in the Maldives will now have the unbeatable option of hassle-free travel to and from Malé, she said at a press conference at Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
Tourists from Bangladesh can get on-arrival visa at the Malé international airport, she added.
The air link will help strengthen the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the Maldives and give a boost to trade relations between the two countries, said Ahmed Adil, deputy high commissioner of the Maldives in Dhaka.
Maldivian has been providing air transportation between Malé international airport (Ibrahim Nasir International Airport) in the Maldives and the domestic airports in the country since 2000.
Although it started domestic operations in 2003, Maldivian commenced its first regional operations in January 2008 with the first flight to Trivandrum, India.
Now, Maldivian operates daily frequent flights to six domestic airports in the country and operates daily flights to Trivandrum.
A seventh domestic route will be added to its network in October with the opening of Dharavandhoo Airport in Baa Atoll, according to the airline.
It will also operate new direct thrice-a-week flights to Mumbai from November.
The aim of the airline is to give the customers a 'Maldivian Experience' thousands of feet in the sky, at a fare that is competitive while ensuring quality service, said Rajakrishnan, country manager of Maldivian.
Maldivian has appointed Air Galaxy Ltd as its general sales agent in Bangladesh.
Taufiq Uddin Ahmed, chairman of Air Galaxy, and Ahmed Yusuf Walid, its managing director, were also present.