Flight movements will return to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2023: MACL

Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) has revealed the flight movements are only expected to revert to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2023.

Speaking at a webinar organised by National Federation of Maldivian Employers (NFME), acting Managing Director of MACL Moosa Solih said the Asia Pacific Region is expected to reach the pre-pandemic levels in 2023 although International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the aviation sector to return to previous peaks in 2024.

With the Maldives opening its borders on July 15, MACL expects the sector back at its peak sometime in 2023. Solih said efforts from the Ministry of Tourism and stakeholders of the tourism industry are underway to revive the sector.

Before global COVID-19 pandemic, Velana International Airport (VIA) was amongst the busiest airports in the region, with an average of 40 international flights a day. VIA has recorded over 600 international and domestic flights in a single day during its peak.

During the pandemic, only two international flights arrived at VIA on average and the domestic flights have also been reduced to an average of 5, down from an average of 50 flights before the pandemic.

MACL has already made arrangements with 11 airlines to restart operations to the Maldives while discussions are ongoing with other airlines. The state-owned company said it is prepared to accommodate a flight every 20 minutes when VIA reopens in new normal conditions.