Coronavirus Air Travel
Here is all You Need to Know if You are Planning on Travelling to The Maldives during the Coronavirus pandemic
When and Which airlines will resume flights to the Maldives?
5 July, 2020
The Maldivian borders should open on July 15.
Maldivian officials say that a majority of international airlines that operated scheduled flights to the Maldives before the coronavirus pandemic will resume their operations in July and August.
The country is also offering a range of incentives, including a full waiver of airport charges during the initial stages, to international airlines operating scheduled flights, in a bid to give a much-needed boost to the country’s hard-hit tourism industry.
We look at the timeline of confirmed service resumptions by international airlines, after the island nation reopens its borders to visitors.
Only Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad have confirmed scheduled services to the Maldives in July.
Starting July 15, Qatar Airways will operate a daily flight from Doha to Male. The airline will use a 132-seater A320 jet for the direct service, which is scheduled to continue until October 24.
Emirates will resume scheduled operations to the Maldives on July 16, with a 360-seater B777 aircraft serving the Dubai-Male-Dubai route on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays until August end.
From July 18-28, Etihad will operate a 136-seater A320 jet between Abu Dhabi and Male every Tuesday and Saturday.
SriLankan Airlines will resume its scheduled flight operations to the Maldives on August 1, with three daily services between Colombo and Male until October 24. The neighbouring Sri Lanka’s flag carrier will use a 297-seater A333 jet on two of its three services and a 188-seater A321 aircraft for the remaining flight.
Singapore Airlines will operate a daily service to Male from August 1 to October 24 using a 337-seater B781 aircraft. Its regional wing SilkAir will complement the Singapore-Male-Singapore route during the period by offering twice a day service that uses a 167-seater B738 jet.
From August 1 to October 24, Hong Kong Airlines will fly to the Maldives on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. A 294-seater A330 jet will be used for the direct service between Hong Kong and Male.
Gulf Air will resume its operations to the Maldives on August 2, with two services — the second arriving via Colombo but departing to Bahrain from Male — on every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday until October 24. From August 5 to October 21, a third service will be operated via Colombo on every Wednesday. The airline will use a 150-seater A320 aircraft for all of its services.
From August 10 to October 24, IndiGo will operate two daily services to the Maldives, offering direct connections to the Maldivian capital from the Indian cities of Mumbai and Cochin. The Indian budget carrier will use a 180-seater A320 aircraft for both the services.
From September 24 to October 22, Edelweiss will operate a direct flight between Zurich and Male on every Thursday, while a Sunday flight will be added to the route from September 27 to October 18. The airline will use a 314-seater A343 aircraft for the two services.
Turkish Airlines will resume its operations to the Maldives on October 1, with two services — the second arriving via Colombo but departing to Istanbul from Male — on every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday until October 23. Turkey’s flag carrier will deploy a 289-seater A333 aircraft for the two services.
From October 2-23, Edelweiss will operate another flight on the Zurich-Male-Zurich route on every Friday. As its two services scheduled to start in September, Edelweiss will use a 314-seater A343 aircraft for the October service.
Etihad Airways Opens Scheduled Flights to the Maldives on 16th July
1 July, 2020
Etihad Airways is resuming operations to Maldives with its first passenger flight to arrive on 16th July.
The airline will continue to operate 2 flights per week and will look into adding more flights after 31st July.
Etihad Airways is also increasing operations to more destinations from 16 July onwards. “We continue to work closely with the UAE Government and Global Aviation Authorities to ensure we keep you connected the best we can,” a statement by the airline read.
Etihad will resume flights to these destinations from Thursday, July 16:
Transfer flights via Abu Dhabi
Throughout July, guests can transfer via Abu Dhabi to destinations across Asia, Australia, Europe, GCC and North America. As its network continues to grow, the airlines be updating their flight schedules regularly.
Flying to and from Abu Dhabi
Until 15 July 2020, inbound and outbound flights of the airlines from Abu Dhabi are available to 29 destinations. To travel on inbound flights to Abu Dhabi, guests must hold a valid UAE resident visa and ICA approval number. Guests will not be permitted to enter the UAE otherwise.
- Amsterdam: Up to 3 x weekly
- Athens: 2 x weekly
- Bahrain: Up to 2 x weekly
- Barcelona: Up to 4 x weekly
- Brussels: Up to 3 x weekly
- Chicago: weekly
- Colombo: 2 x weekly (Inbound Abu Dhabi only)
- Dublin: Up to 3 x weekly
- Frankfurt: Daily
- Geneva: Up to 3 x weekly
- Islamabad: 2 x weekly
- Istanbul: 2 x Weekly
- Jakarta: 5 x weekly
- Kuala Lumpur: 4 x weekly
- Karachi: 3 x weekly
- Lahore: Daily
- London: Daily
- Madrid: Up to 3 x weekly
- Manila: Up to 4 x weekly
- Melbourne: 5 x weekly
- Milan: Daily
- New York: Weekly
- Paris: Daily
- Seoul: Daily
- Singapore: 4 x weekly
- Sydney: Up to 3 x weekly
- Tokyo Narita: 3 x weekly
- Toronto: weekly
- Zurich: Up to 5 x weekly
Etihad Airways reports that flights will be available to book through all channels.
Find more information at etihadhub.com
Emirates to Resume Flights to the Maldives on July 16
30 June, 2020
Emirates will resume passenger flights to Maldives from July 16, as the airline continues to add travel options for customers.
The Dubai-based airline will operate five flights a week between Male and Dubai, on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Along with the Male service, Emirates, which runs the world’s biggest airline by international traffic, is restarting passenger flights to Cairo and Tunis from July 1, and Glasgow from July 15.
This will bring Emirates’ network to 52 destinations in July, offering travellers convenient connections between the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas through its Dubai hub, while ensuring the health and safety of customers and employees on the ground and in the air.
These flights can be booked online at Emirates website or via travel agents.
Customers from Emirates’ network can also travel to Dubai following the announcement last week that the city will be open to business and leisure visitors from July 7, with new air travel protocols that facilitate travel for UAE citizens, residents and tourists while safeguarding the health and safety of visitors and communities.
Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers.
The announcement comes as the Maldives prepares to reopen its borders on July 15.
Maldives, China agree on ‘fast lane’ to bypass quarantine for returning Chinese tourists
24 June, 2020
Maldives and China will launch a ‘fast lane’ for travellers between the two countries next month, the island nation’s president announced Tuesday.
The so-called fast lane arrangement will enable Chinese travellers to fly back home from the Maldives without having to serve quarantine periods of up to 14 days after their return.
Instead, they must take a Covid-19 swab test 48 hours before departure from the Maldives and after they land in China.
Maldivian president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih told reporters Tuesday that the ‘fast lane’ arrangement will come into effect when the Indian Ocean tourist paradise reopens its borders on July 15.
The Chinese government is setting up a testing facility at the Maldives main Velana International Airport with the capacity of 1,000 tests per day, he said.
Solih stressed that his government will explore similar arrangements with other countries as well.
“We are reopening our borders to visitors from all nationalities. We are also making arrangements to accommodate requirements of individual countries,” he said.
China has initiated similar fast lane arrangements with several Asian destinations like Singapore and South Korea.
Maldives Expects 10 daily Intl Flights at July Reopening
21 June, 2020
About 10 scheduled international flights are expected per day when the Maldives reopens its borders in July, aviation officials in the island nation announced Sunday.
Ibrahim Hussein, terminal manager at the Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL) which runs the main Velana International Airport, told a parliamentary committee that several airlines had applied for slots from July.
Starting July 1, SriLankan Airlines wants to operate three daily flights between Colombo and Male, while Qatar Airways plans to fly once a day on the Doha-Male sector.
However, most airlines wants to begin flights from July 15. That include:
- Emirates: one daily
- Etihad Airways: twice a week
- Hong Kong Airlines: twice a week
- IndiGo: two daily
- Singapore Airlines: one daily
- Silk Air: two daily
- Turkish Airlines: five days a week, two services per day
Moosa Solih, acting Managing Director of MACL, said airlines that had regular flight operations to the Maldives before the coronavirus pandemic want to resume a limited number of services.
“They are waiting for us to announce a date [for reopening the borders]. This will proceed once a date is finalised at the national level,” he said.
Solih warned that health and safety measures put in place in the wake of the pandemic will cut down the number of international arrivals that could be accommodated at a given time to 570 from 1,000 and departures to 750 from 1,200.
Blue markers, spaced three feet apart, are in place in front of ticketing and check-in counters, and at the pre-flight inspection zone in the international terminal, as well as in front of the check-in counters in the domestic terminal at the Velana International Airport.
Glass separators of four feet have also been installed in between all check-in counters.
The social distancing measures are complemented by added hygiene and safety measures, including daily disinfection of all seats, desks, lounge areas, ticketing and check-in counters, and flooring and airport tarmac area.
Malaysia Airlines Offers Enhanced Flexible Fare Options
21 June, 2020
Malaysia Airlines has introduced enhanced economy class flexible fare options across its entire network.
It offers safety, security, flexibility and a complete hassle-free, premium experience based on the needs of each customer.
The Malaysian national carrier said the options, which were previously limited to domestic, Asean and South Asian destinations, would now see passengers have access to three unique fare options (Lite, Basic and Flex) for all destinations except Malaysia to Japan to Malaysia, Jeddah and Madinah, beginning June 22.
Malaysia Airlines group chief executive officer (CEO) Captain Izham Ismail said as the first airline in the Asia Pacific region to fully introduce flexible fare options across its network, these fares would allow greater personalisation for the passengers.
It also provides a simple and intuitive booking experience, alongside unforgettable Malaysian Hospitality onboard and on the ground, creating a stress-free and seamless travel experience.
“Passengers who arrive early at the airport will enjoy the flexibility of travelling earlier on the day of travel should the opportunity be available, allowing passengers to have fluid travel plans and not worry about fixed travel times,” a statement by the airlines said. “Most importantly, Flex Fare passengers enjoy the opportunity to skip the line, with priority check-in, boarding and baggage privileges as an added bonus, allowing them to skip the waiting line and the hustle and bustle of the crowd.”
Malaysia Airlines said the Neighbour Free Seat product was now available exclusively for Flex Fare passengers on all flights at 50 per cent off, allowing for extra room to travel in comfort, with physical distance onboard in mind.
Emirates Adds 10 New Cities for Travelers
21 June, 2020
Emirates announced it will offer scheduled flights for travelers in 10 more cities: Colombo (from 20 June), Sialkot (24 June), Istanbul (from 25 June); Auckland, Beirut, Brussels, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (all from 1 July); and Barcelona and Washington DC (all from 15 July).
Emirates’ flights from Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Pakistan, will only carry outbound passengers to the UAE and onward destinations.
This will take the total number of Emirates destinations on offer for travelers to 40, providing more options for customers who wish to return home or those travelling for essential purposes.
Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer said: “Thanks to the UAE authorities’ support and partnership, Emirates has been able to provide smooth and safe journeys for those who need to travel, and we look forward adding flights to more destinations in the coming weeks. The UAE government’s recent announcement to ease travel for UAE citizens and residents show the thorough approach that our country is taking with regards to resuming economic activities, and as we gradually return to regular services, Emirates’ number one priority will always be the health and safety of our customers, our crew and our communities.”
In addition, Emirates will add flights to the following cities in July: London Heathrow, Manchester, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, Madrid, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, New York JFK, Toronto, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Customers can book to fly between destinations in the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe or the Americas, with a convenient connection in Dubai, as long as they meet travel and immigration entry requirements of their destination country.
Flight bookings can be made online at emirates.com or via travel agents. Customers can find more information about Emirates’ flights and current services at: www.emirates.com/wherewefly
Health and safety first: Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers. For more information on these measures and the services available on each flight, visit: www.emirates.com/yoursafety
Travel restrictions: Customers are reminded that travel restrictions remain in place, and travellers will only be accepted on flights if they comply with the eligibility and entry criteria requirements of their destination countries. Residents returning to the UAE can check the latest requirements at: www.emirates.com/returntoDubai
Singapore Airlines Releases “New Normal” Of Flying Video
18 June, 2020
Singapore Airlines has released a new video on June 12 showing what the new normal in flying will be in this COVID-19 world.
“On your next journey with us, you will notice a few changes to your travel experience,” a statement by the airlines read. “In these extraordinary times, we have stepped up our cleaning measures and introduced new ones designed to safeguard your well-being, while continuing to provide you with the kind of care that you expect from Singapore Airlines.”
New measures unveiled
Singapore Airlines (SIA) had previously announced a range of health and safety measures that the airlines under the SIA Group will be introducing. The other airlines are Scoot and SilkAir.
SIA assured that the company has stepped up cleaning procedures at all premises, including its SilverKris Lounges.
Every aircraft will undergo an enhanced cleaning process before each flight, and common surfaces and areas in the aircraft such as windows, tray tables, lavatories will be disinfected.
Headsets, headrest covers, pillow covers, bedsheets, and blankets are washed and replaced after every flight, SIA added.
The air in the aircraft is refreshed every two to three minutes with a ceiling to floor airflow pattern to limit the spread of virus and bacteria.
All aircraft are also installed with High Efficiency Particulate Air filters to remove viruses and bacteria.
Changes to in-flight service
From June 8, all airlines under SIA Group, including SilkAir and Scoot, will provide passengers on board with a Care Kit.
The Care Kit includes a surgical mask, anti-bacterial hand wipes and hand sanitizer.
The cabin crew will be wearing face masks throughout the flight.
When interacting with the passengers, the crew members will also wear eye goggles.
The in-flight meals will be replaced with snack bags instead for flights within Southeast Asia and mainland China.
When serving passengers during meal times, the crew members will be wearing gloves for hygiene reasons.
For long-haul flights, a single tray service will be introduced in place of table layout service in First Class and Business Class.
SIA will progressively reintroduce its signature satay and garlic bread from mid-June 2020.
Passengers can access digital copies of over 150 different reading materials via the SingaporeAir mobile app and access the in-flight entertainment via a Companion App.
In the coming months, the SIA Group will also introduce in-flight e-menu and digital food ordering services in the lounges.
In time to come, passengers will be able to print their boarding passes and baggage tags at airport self service kiosks via the SingaporeAir mobile app or a QR code as well.
Alitalia offerings: Over 1,000 weekly flights to 37 destinations in July
16 June, 2020
Alitalia will increase number of flights and destinations served in July. During the month, the airline will operate over 1,000 weekly flights reaching 13 new domestic and international airports: Amsterdam, Athens, Boston, Malta, Nice, Tel Aviv, Tirana, Tunis and in Italy Brindisi, Florence, Lampedusa, Pantelleria and Reggio Calabria.
Alitalia will operate 60% more flights compared to June and double the number of services compared to May. Alitalia aircrafts will fly on 52 routes (22 more than June) to 37 airports, including 19 in Italy and 18 abroad. Seats offered in July will grow by 60% compared to the previous month.
The Alitalia flight schedule in July will mainly include the reopening of international air services from Milan and the increase of international flights from Rome, as well as the increase of services from Northern Italy to Southern Italy and the Italian islands.
In detail, Alitalia will resume flights from Rome Fiumicino to Athens (2 flights per day, from 1 July), Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Tunis (10 flights per week with each of the three airports, from 1 July), Nice and Tirana (6 flights per week for each airport, from 1 July), Malta (6 flights per week, from 2 July), Boston (6 flights per week, from 16 July), Brindisi (2 flights per day, from 1 July), Florence (2 flights per day from 1 July, replacing the services to Pisa), Reggio Calabria (2 flights per day, from 1 July), Lampedusa and Pantelleria (4 flights per week with each of the two airports, summer seasonal services from 4 July).
Alitalia will also increase the number of air services from Rome Fiumicino airport to Barcelona and Madrid (from 6 flights per week to 2 per day for each airport), Paris (from 20 flights per week to 4 per day), London (from 4 to 6 flights per day), Milan (from 8 to 10 flights per day), Bologna, Lamezia Terme, Turin and Venice (from 2 to 4 flights per day for each of the four airports) from July. The airline has already planned to increase, beginning from 15 June, the number of services from Rome to Catania and Palermo (from 8 to 10 flights per day with each of the two airports) and to Cagliari (from 6 to 8 daily flights).
From Milan Malpensa airport, the airline will carry on its operations until the reopening of Linate airport, Alitalia will resume international services to London, Paris, Amsterdam (2 flights per day with each of the three airports, from 1 July), Brussels (12 flights per week, from 1 July) and domestic services to Brindisi, Lamezia Terme, Naples, Reggio Calabria (2 flights per day with each airport), Pantelleria and Lampedusa (2 flights per week with each of the two airports, summer seasonal services which will start, respectively, from 4 and 5 July).
Furthermore, the airline has already planned to increase, beginning from today, the number of flights from Milan to Cagliari (from 4 to 6 daily flights) and to double services, from 13 June, to Catania and Palermo (from 2 to 4 flights per day with each of the two airports).
Overall, with about 750 weekly flights Alitalia will connect its hub in Rome Fiumicino airport with 36 domestic and international destinations (Alghero, Bologna, Bari, Brindisi, Cagliari, Catania, Florence, Genoa, Lamezia Terme, Lampedusa, Milan, Naples, Olbia, Palermo, Pantelleria, Reggio Calabria, Turin, Venice and, abroad, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Boston, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneve, London, Madrid, Malta, Munich, New York, Nice, Paris, Tel Aviv, Tirana, Tunis and Zurich).
From Milan, Alitalia will serve 17 domestic and international destinations (Alghero, Bari, Brindisi, Cagliari, Catania, Lamezia Terme, Lampedusa, Naples, Olbia, Palermo, Pantelleria, Reggio Calabria, Rome and, abroad, Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Paris) with over 350 weekly flights.
All passenger flights are operated with reduced aircraft capacity, in order to comply with the provisions of the Italian law on social distancing on board aircraft. Alitalia’s aircraft are sanitized with high-powered sanitizing products every day and, thanks to HEPA filters and vertical circulation, the air on board is 99.7% pure, just like in a sterile medical room.
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