British Airways holds launch party for London-Male' route

Thursday, 19 November 2009 18:34

British Airways held a launch party in Male for its fledgling London-Maldives service, the first direct service of its kind for a UK carrier and intended to draw sun-starved tourists seeking escape from the cold gloom of the British winter.

Judy Jarvis, BA's regional commercial manager for South Asia, said that while the route catered primarily to the luxury tourist market and the airline's strength in the package holiday market, the company was also hoping to grow the number of outbound business passengers travelling to the UK.

"It's very early days, we've been operating less than a month," she said at the function on Tuesday.

Minister for Civil Aviation Mahmood Razee said the arrival of British Airways had compelled it to upgrade the airport's capabilities for dealing with cargo assets, which historically "have not been so great."


"[British Airways] carries a lot of cargo that originates in the Maldives as well as transit cargo," he said. "We needed to put in place aspects of security and assurance, most of it procedural - things like storing cargo in a secure place."

The additional three weekly flights may place further pressure on the airport's ability to cope with peak periods.

"We have problems with bunching from 8am in the morning to 2pm in the afternoon, especially on a Monday," Razee explained. "It's partly because most traffic from Europe arrives early in the morning because of airport curfew requirements in that part of the world."

The Maldives’ economy is heavily reliant on tourism, revenue from which accounts for one-third of its annual GDP.

Of the 800,000 passengers who pass through it annually, 600,000 are tourists, Razee said. The most prolific user of the airport is Sri Lanka airways which operates 28 flights weekly, followed by Emirates and Qatar Airways.

minivannews.com

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