The main international airport in the Maldives – Ibrahim Naasir International Airport, on the island of Hulhule’ is the main gateway between Maldives and the rest of the world ,just 2km across the water from the capital city Male'. It’s a decent airport that was being upgraded to include new departure and arrival areas at the time of research. The other international airport is located on the southern island of Gan and operates international charter flights.
The carriers serving Male’ can roughly be divided into scheduled and charter airlines. Some airlines only fly in certain seasons and the list of charter airlines changes frequently.
Austrian (OS; 3334004; www.aua.com)
Emirates (EK; 3315465; www.emirates.com)
Air India (IC; 3310111; www.airindia.com)
Malaysian Airlines (MH; 3332555; www.malaysiaairlines.com)
Qatar Airways (QR; 3334777; www.qatarairways.com)
Singapore Airlines (SQ; 3310031; www.singaporeairlines.com)
Sri Lankan Airlines (UL; 3310031; www.srilankan.aero)
Transaero (UN; www.transaero.ru; Male’ airport)
Note that most charter airlines don’t have offices in Male’ and should be contacted via the home country.
Britannia Airways (BY; www.thomsonfly.com)
Blue Panorama Airlines (BV; www.blue-panorama.com)
Condor (DE; www5.condor.com)
Corsair (SS; 3310111; www.corsair.fr)
Edelweiss (EDW; www.edelweissair.ch)
Eurofly (GJ; www.eurofly.it)
First Choice (FCA; www.firstchoice.co.uk)
LTU (LT; 3334004; www.ltu.com)
Martinair (MP; 3323069; www.martinair.com)
Monarch (MON; www.flymonarch.com)
Neos Spa (NO; www.neosair.it)
British travellers have a choice of several charter flights from London and Manchester that go direct to Male’ and scheduled flights from London via Doha (Qatar Airways), Dubai (Emirates) and Colombo (Sri Lankan).
Australians usually reach the Maldives via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur on Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas or a combination. The few Australian visitors to the Maldives makes this an expensive flight. There are no chartered flights currently operating between Australia and Male’.
Flight Centre (131-600; www.flightcentre.com.au)
STA Travel (1300-733035; www.statravel.com.au)
Charter flights operate between Charles de Gaulle and Male’ on Star Airlines and from Paris Orly on Corsair International during high season. The rest of the year Emirates, Qatar and Sri Lankan offer the best connections and prices.
OTU Voyages (0 820 817 817; www.otu.fr)
Nouvelles Frontières (0 825 000 825; www.nouvelles-frontieres.fr)
Voyageurs du Monde (01 42 86 16 40; www.vdm.com)
Germany has a huge number of charter airlines bringing huge numbers of visitors to resorts year-round. Direct flights from Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich as well as from other cities are available on a number of chartered airlines.
There is an excellent charter choice available from Italy to Male’ – most are nonstop flights, although some pick up in two or more Italian cities en route. For scheduled flights, Emirates followed by Sri Lankan and Qatar have the best connections from Rome and Milan. CTS Viaggi (840-501150; www.cts.it) is a recommended travel agency.
There’s a weekly flight on Austrian Airlines from Vienna, a twice-weekly flight from Moscow on Transaero, flights from Amsterdam on Martinair and from Switzerland on Edelweiss.
Japanese travellers usually fly via Sri Lanka or Singapore, though some travel on Thai Airways via Bangkok and Colombo, for a lower price. Chartered flights are not in operation.
The sheer distance involved in travelling between North America and the Maldives makes the US and Canadian tourism market minuscule. People travelling from North America will usually fly via London and then continue by Qatar Airways, Emirates or Sri Lankan. From the West coast travel via Singapore makes most sense.