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Maldives to introduce discounts for international airlines

Mariyam Malsa
28 June 2020, MVT 21:36
An international flight landing at Velana International Airport. PHOTO/MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
28 June 2020, MVT 21:36

Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) has launched discounts for international airlines after Maldives reopens borders on July 15.

MACL described the discounts an incentive aimed to increase the flow of incoming tourists, thereby creating a positive impact on Maldives' heavily tourism reliant economy.

Applicable to charges levied on ground handling, landing, navigation and parking, the discounts are divided into three categories.

All international airlines seeking to resume operations between July 15 and August 31 will obtain a 100 percent discount.

Meanwhile, a 75 percent discount will be granted to airlines that resume operations between September 1 and October 27. International airlines which begin flights to Maldives after October 28 will receive a 50 percent discount.

MACL's Acting Managing Director Moosa Solih previously revealed that 10 airlines, including Qatar Airways, Emirates, Sri Lankan Airlines and IndiGo, had already requested slots at Velana International Airport (VIA).

He added that VIA was fully equipped to handle multiple flights landing daily at the airport and guaranteed that safety protocols were in place.

The acting Managing Director also stated that MACL shared the Ministry of Tourism's goal to attract bring 900,000 tourists to Maldives during the remaining months of 2020.

As with many countries around the world, Maldives closed its air and sea borders to tourist arrivals on March 27 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Just a few months earlier, government projections for tourism were overwhelmingly positive, hoping to reach the two million mark in 2020 and topple 2019’s record of 1.7 million tourist arrivals.

The travel restrictions, implemented as part of Maldives' response to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, have left the country vulnerable to severe economic impacts. Mid-April, World Bank projected that Maldives would be the worst-hit economy in the South Asian region due to the pandemic.

The government has predicted a shortfall of approximately USD 450 million (MVR 6.9 billion) in foreign currency, while state deficit is projected to reach MVR 13 billion this year.

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