MIAMI – Maldivian (Q2), previously known as Island Aviation, Maldive’s national carrier, has announced a new service from Maafaru International Airport (NMF), located on Noonu Atoll, to Mumbai, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaji International Airport (BOM), effective from April 13.

No precise information on the flight schedules is available on the Maldivian booking system but website cites a three flights weekly pattern.

Maldivian De Havilland Canada Dash 8-300 8Q-IAT – Photo : Alberto Cucini/Airways

Maafaru’s Brand New Airport

Maafaru’s brand new airport was opened in 2019 with the financial help of the UAE (United Arab Emirates) Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. The airport has a 2200mt runway, 40mt wide, with complete ATC and NAVAID, and can handle Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 aircraft. It disposes of all passenger’s facilities including jetties for fast boat connections to several atolls.

The area served by NMF offers around 10000 beds, spread over the atolls of Noonu, Raa, Baa, and Lhavizani. Maldivian and the resorts surrounding the airport can count on a large Indian market that has totaled over 46500 arrivals up to March 2021.

Maldivian De Havilland Canada DHC 6-300 Twin Otter – Photo : Alberto Cucini/Airways

Plans to Expand Airport for Wide-body Operations

According to a press release issued by the Visit Maldive organization, plans are in the making to extend the runway in order to accommodate widebody aircraft. The plans were confirmed by the Managing Director of Maldivian, Mohamed Mihad, which commented “because of the current length of the Maafaru runway, we are only able to accommodate short-haul flights.

The organization added, “We need to lengthen the runway in order to accommodate wide-body aircraft. I have been informed that work on lengthening the runway will begin in July this year, and we hope to complete the work by the end of the year. We plan on launching flights to Eastern European countries using wide-body aircraft as soon as the work is done”.

While Maldivian serves several domestic destinations from NMF, the BOM run would be the only international service departing from Noonu atoll.

Featured image: Alberto Cucini/Airways