Maldivian Airlines, owned by Island Aviation Services Ltd of Maldives, has expanded its flight network by connecting Chennai, Mumbai and Dhaka with Male, the capital city of the island nation.

“India is our focus market, as it has a great potential,” said Bandhu Ibrahim Saleem, Chairman of the company. The airlines launched its Male-Chennai service on Thursday . From Chennai, the aircraft will go to Dhaka and from there back to Chennai and Male. In the evening, it will fly from Male to Thiruvananthapuram and back.

Tomorrow (Nov 16), the same aircraft ( its first A320 aircraft) will fly the Male-Mumbai-Male route.

Delhi Next

According to Abdul Haris, Managing Director of Island Aviation Services Ltd, on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday it will fly between Male-Chenai-Dhaka-Chennai-Male; and on every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, it will fly between Mumbai and Male. Besides, every day there will be a flight between Male and Thiruvananthapuram. “Our next destination will be Delhi. We plan to commence the operation by early next year,” he said.

So far, the airline has been operating two flights a day between Male and Thiruvananthapuram, apart from several flights in the domestic routes.

Speaking to a group of journalists from India, who were in Maldives on the company's invitation, Haris said that last year over 30,000 Indians visited the island nation. With the new routes, he said the Maldivian government hopes to get at least one lakh visitors a year. Besides Maldivian Airlines, a few other airlines, including Air India and Sri Lankan Airlines, connect various Indian cities with Maldives.

ravikumar.ramanujam@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 15, 2012)
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