The inaugural flight, FZ561, departed Dubai Terminal 2 at 0035hrs yesterday (20 January), arriving at Malé International Airport (Ibrahim Nasir International Airport) at 0620hrs local time. A water cannon salute and delegation of senior Maldivian state officials received the aircraft and flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer, Ghaith Al Ghaith on the runway. Together with local and international media, they later attended a press conference at the Jumeirah Vittaveli resort.
Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said: “The start of flydubai's flights open our wonderful nation to a wider number of tourists, while also offering affordable fares to Dubai for our residents. Through this regular service, we look forward to welcoming travellers from a wider range of destinations and continuing to develop our tourism appeal.”
Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said: “Launching flights to Malé is a great start to the year as we introduce our affordable fares and innovative onboard services to a new market. I am confident that the Maldives will prove attractive to passengers from across our network, particularly those in the GCC and CIS regions who can transit easily through Dubai’s aviation hub.”
Furthering its commitment to enhancing passenger experience, flydubai has become the first airline to offer daily updated digital newspapers through its In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system. The eReader platform provides access to 45 newspapers in seven languages from across the globe in pdf format.
Patrick Préfontaine, President of DTI Solutions, the airline industry’s leading provider of in-flight digital reading software which supplied flydubai’s eReader, said: “We’re delighted to have helped flydubai achieve this historic project. We truly believe that eReader solutions are strategic for airlines to provide their passengers with relevant and engaging content, while benefiting from the noted advantages of digital content such as weight and cost reductions, compared to paper-based media onboard.”
Meanwhile, joining flydubai in the Maldives were representatives from Boeing, who delivered the airline’s latest 737-800 aircraft in December 2012.
“We are extremely proud of our partnership with flydubai and their confidence in the Boeing 737. Thanks to its unparalleled operating efficiencies and unique Boeing Sky Interior cabin environment, the 737 is an important enabler of flydubai’s business model, which is based on affordable fares and a superior onboard experience,” said Kent Craver, Regional Director for Passenger Satisfaction and Revenue, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “It is the confidence that flydubai and other airlines around the world have in this airplane that made 2012 a record year for the 737 programme which accumulated 1,124 net orders, the most any Boeing model has had in a single year. We look forward to continuing our relationship with flydubai as it rapidly expands its fleet and its network.”
flydubai now flies five times a week to the Maldives, a nation consisting of twenty-six atolls and 1,190 coral islands. The country is particularly popular with tourists from Russia, CIS and the GCC, who are attracted by the lush white sandy beaches, serene turquoise lagoons and richly colourful coral reefs that are renowned the world over for their bio-diversity and radiant flora and fauna.
Gerald Lawless, President and CEO of Jumeirah Group, said: “We congratulate the flydubai team on opening up the new route to the Maldives. This will allow many more people to experience the exotic beauty of this remarkable nation, where we are proud to run two of the most beautiful luxury hotels: Jumeirah Vittaveli and Jumeirah Dhevanafushi. We also appreciate the significant contribution flydubai makes to the growth of tourism in Dubai and the region.”
flydubai’s network now spans more than 50 destinations in 32 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Asia, the CIS and Central & Eastern Europe.
Flights to Malé operate five times a week.
- 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 0855hrs, arriving in Dubai at 1255hrs 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 in the UAE and 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.