The Maldivian, flag carrier has announced plans to operate direct flights from Maafaru in Maldives North to Mumbai starting April 13, 2021. They will start with a three-flight-a-week schedule to Mumbai and hope to expand to other Indian Cities.
Maafaru International Airport opened in 2019 and is north of Velana International Airport Surrounded by : Noonu atoll, Raa atoll, Baa atoll and Lhaviyani atoll will enable travelers to reach the islands in these atolls in just under one hour via speedboat from Maafaru Airport.
Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the national entity for economic development aid, has contributed AED91 million ($52 million) to the opening of Maafaru International Airport, for the development of the Noonu atoll. This has provided economic benefits to resorts and Guest houses in this area.
According to IAS, which manages the airport, Maafaru has seen a steady increase in the number of jet landings since the border reopening on July 15 and has recorded 253 jet landings in 2020.
The current length of the Maafaru runway, is only able to accommodate short haul flights at the present time . The plan is to work on lengthening the runway from July this year which should be completed by the end of 2021 after which flights to Eastern European countries using wide body aircrafts can be launched.
The airport currently boasts a 2,200-metre-long and 40 metres wide runway with a state-of-the-art terminal and including a VIP lounge. It can accommodate aircraft such as Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.
India is currently the top source market to the Maldives with an arrival figure of over 46,500 arrivals as of March 4th, 2021.