Maldives have reopened its borders to tourism after a 109-day hiatus with 128 passengers arriving on the first flight of the day.
At a special ceremony this morning at Velana International Airport, the first flight landed at 8:26 a.m. in the Maldives, was an A350 flight operated by Qatar Airways which received a water salute. Sources say that the airline initially had an A320 flight but was changed due to overbooking.
The ceremony held at Velana International Airport was attended by the Acting Head of the Tourism Ministry, the Minister of Economic Development, Fayyaaz Ismail, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Aishath Nahula and the Managing Director of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) Thoyyib Mohamed along with high-ranking officials from the Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL).
Tourism Ministry and MACL has said that the flight today arrived with a total of 128 passengers which consists of 23 Maldivians. And all remaining passengers are tourists with a large portion of the being Europeans.
As the border reopens, MACL, who operates International Airport is greatly prepared to accommodate and clear a flight every 20 minutes. The airport will be disinfected with every landing and departure.
Meanwhile, the entire airport operations have been redesigned to provide service with physical distancing. Previously, the airport could service 1000 people at a time as to now where the airport can service 557 people at a time. The Departure Hall, which previously could accommodate 1200 people can now accommodate 750 people.
As the Maldivian borders reopen today, two tourist flights are set to arrive today. The government has previously said that 11 airlines including major airlines in the world, have booked slots start flight operations to the Maldives.