Three Chinese airlines have decided to operate flights to the Maldives for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision was made after the government of China began easing COVID-19 restrictions. Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) stated that Beijing Capital Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Hong Kong Airlines will commence flights to the Maldives this month.
As such, Beijing Capital Airlines will operate flights from Beijing Daxing International Airport to Velana International Airport (VIA) from January 18 to February 22. The airline will operate four flights per week using an aircraft with 306 seats.
China Eastern Airlines will operate flights from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to VIA from January 28 to March 25. The airline will operate one flight per week using an aircraft with 232 seats.
Hong Kong Airlines will operate flights from Hong Kong International Airport to VIA until March 23. The airline will operate three flights per week using a 292-seat aircraft.
The government of China has announced that it will end the COVID-19 restrictions for travellers starting from January 8. As part of the changes, China will re-open the country to those with work and study visas, or seeking to visit family, and will no longer implement quarantine measures. However, travellers going to China will require a negative test result within 48 hours of departure.
After the announcement, Ambassador of China to the Maldives Wang Lixin said the outbound tourism for Chinese citizens will be resumed in an orderly manner very soon and expressed her belief that the Maldives will be one of the most favoured destinations for Chinese tourists.
China was the largest tourist market for the Maldives before the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. However, tourists from China have not travelled to the Maldives in the past three years due to the safety measures taken in China to halt the spread of COVID-19.