Commencing on 19 January 2013, flights will operate five times a week between Dubai's Terminal 2 and the Maldives' Ibrahim Nasir International Airport on the island of Malé. Bringing flydubai's presence in the Indian Subcontinent to nine points across six countries, the new route will allow travellers from across the region to enjoy affordable fares to one of the world's most renowned leisure destinations.
"We are very excited about adding Malé to our destination network," said flydubai's CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith. "As the first low-cost carrier from the UAE to fly to the Maldives, we are making this island paradise even more accessible to travellers across our network. flydubai offers a low-cost model with innovation and excellent service. This proposition has proved very popular with our passengers and will undoubtedly be a draw for those looking to experience one of the world's top holiday spots at an affordable price."
Voted the number one island destination in the Indian Ocean by Condé Nast Traveller readers, the Maldives has advanced its tourism credentials by promoting its rich culture, vast array of luxury resort experiences, exotic culinary experiences and adventure sports ranging from paragliding to diving. The country has also remained committed to protecting its diverse ecology and champions environmentally-friendly activities. The result has been a consistent growth in visitor numbers over the years, with the Maldives welcoming almost a million tourists in 2011 - a leap of 17.6 per cent over 2010*.
The country has proved particularly popular amongst travellers from Russia, CIS and GCC, with figures revealing a 15.7% increase in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year compared to January to March 2011. The report also highlighted a 77.8%** increase in passengers from the Middle East over the same period with the growth linked to the opening of a number of Middle East-based hotel chains, such as Jumeirah Group's Vittaveli Maldives which opened in December 2011. flydubai flies to 16 points in the CIS and CEE, and more than 20 points in the Middle East.
"We anticipate a strong demand for flights from the GCC, in particular Kuwait, as well as markets such as Russia,CIS and Central & Eastern Europe. Thanks to our strong presence in both these regions, passengers will be able to fly to the Maldives via our Dubai hub," said Ghaith Al Ghaith. "This will be our first launch in 2013 and we look forward to welcoming passengers from across our network to this wonderful country."
The Maldives is widely regarded as one of the world's top holiday spots. It comprises of 1,190 coral islands, formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls and spread over 90,000 square kilometres. With a maximum natural ground level of only 2.4 metres, it is also the lowest country in the world, making it a water-lover's paradise.
The Maldives will be the latest addition to flydubai's growing network of more than 50 destinations in 32 countries, spanning the GCC, Middle East, North Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Asia and Central & Eastern Europe.
Flights to Malé will operate five times a week from 19 January 2013:
- Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays: FZ561 is scheduled to depart Dubai Terminal 2 at 1855, landing in Malé International Airport (Ibrahim Nasir International Airport) at 0040. The return flights leave on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with FZ562 departing at 0140hrs and arriving in Dubai at 0540hrs local time.
- Saturdays and Sundays: FZ561 is scheduled to depart Dubai at 0030hrs, landing in Malé at 0615hrs local time. The return flight, FZ562, departs on the same day at 0715hrs, arriving in Dubai at 1115hrs local time.
Return fares from Dubai to Malé start at AED 1,730 (US$470). All fares are inclusive of all taxes plus one piece of hand luggage weighing up to 7 kg and one small laptop bag or handbag. Checked baggage starts at AED 50 for 20 kg. A seat with extra legroom costs AED100. Once on board, passengers can choose from a range of optional extras, including in-flight entertainment packages priced from AED 10 or select from the varied menu of refreshments and Duty Free items.
Flights between Dubai and Malé can be purchased from flydubai's website (flydubai.com), its Call Centre in the UAE (+9714 231 1000), as well as through travel partners and flydubai Travel Shops and distributor in Malé (+960 334 5000). Further information and details of the carrier's car rental and travel insurance services can also be found on flydubai.com.
* Maldives Tourism
** Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation