China's Chongqing Airlines commences flights to Maldives

Chongqing Airlines of China has inaugurated its flights to the Maldives, with the first flight landing at Velana International Airport (VIA) on June 24, after a stopover in Sri Lanka.

A special ceremony was held to celebrate the airline's maiden flight to the country, which arrived with 82 passengers. During the event, Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL)'s Managing Director Ibrahim Shareef Mohamed emphasised the company's role as a vital link between the Maldivian tourism industry and the world. He reaffirmed MACL's commitment to working with tourism industry stakeholders to attract more airlines.

Shareef highlighted that the introduction of flights from additional Chinese cities would significantly benefit the Maldivian economy.

Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives, Wang Lixing, also spoke at the ceremony, noting that the summer holidays are expected to draw a substantial number of tourists to the Maldives. She underscored the importance of having flights from various parts of China to enhance connectivity.

The event was attended by Tourism Minister Ibrahim Faisal, Chongqing Airlines Vice President, and officials from the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO), and MACL.

Chongqing Airlines is set to operate three weekly flights to the Maldives using A320 aircraft, each with a 165-seat capacity.

Currently, three other Chinese airlines—Beijing Capital Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines—operate flights to the Maldives. China remains the top tourist market for the Maldives, with over 113,000 Chinese tourists visiting so far this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism.