“Maldivian feel” central to flight group’s Gan to Hong Kong aspirations

The arrival of a new year is also expected to see a new local airline called Mega Maldives take to the country’s skies in what it has said is an attempt to bring a greater share of the lucrative tourist transportation market into local hands, at least should everything go to plan during its launch.

After today obtaining an Airline Operating Certificate (AOC) from the government that will allow it to operate flights both inside and out of the country, the new company has claimed that it hopes to launch the first of a number of scheduled services between the destinations of Hong Kong, Male’ International Airport and Gan Airport from New Year’s Eve.

The new airline said that although most of the paper work required to begin flight operations alongside the AOC has been completed, it expected to receive confirmation that it can commence flights between the Maldives and Hong Kong during the next 10 days or so.

Having obtained permission to fly, Mega Maldives has become the latest in a growing number of flight operators announcing services to try and tap interest in travelling to the Maldives from destinations across Asia to airports both in Male’ and Gan during the last 12 months.

Package companies such as India-based MakeMyTrip said they have been operating scheduled flights to Gan since early October, while budget airlines such as AirAsia and SpiceJet have also announced plans to begin flying to the Maldives by the first quarter of 2011.

Tourism officials in the country have claimed that tourist interest within the Maldives has begun to strengthen again in 2010 after a difficult 12 months in 2009, with official figures showing a 21.8 per cent rise in visitor numbers up to October.

Mifzal Ahmed, a board director for the 55 per cent Maldivian-owned Mega Maldives joint venture, told Minivan News that the company aimed to follow in the footsteps of operators such as Hawaiian Airlines by attempting to tap into interest for authentic local experiences and services – even from within an aeroplane.

The Maldives already has a national airliner under the Maldivian brand, which is operated by Island Aviation Services and currently operates services to Trivandrum, India, alongside its domestic services.

Maldivian has itself expressed interest in possible plans to expand to more international destinations upon an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of its stock, expected around halfway through the next decade.

However, Ahmed claimed that Mega Maldives has been created in an attempt to offer international passengers from across Asia “something different” in terms of travelling to the Maldives, aside from being one of a few international airlines currently flying to Gan.
“First of all we have a crew that is more than 50 per cent Maldivian, which reflects our aim to try and bring a Maldives feel to our services,” he said.

Alongside having a cabin crew that the airline said would be dressed in uniform that reflects traditional Maldives’ style, the company is also considering looking at incorporating elements such as local music, crafts and even possibly food dishes into its services, according to Ahmed, a Maldivian himself.

“We will try this, it will depend on in-flight catering, but to us this will feel like a Maldivian service.”
Mega Maldives is a joint venture company with 55 per cent of its operations owned by Maldives-based ZM Holdings and the other 45 per cent belonging to US-based group, W-Cap.

It is this Maldivian element within the business that Ahmed said had helped encourage the group to begin flying to Gan, where he claimed foreign rivals may, by contrast, have worried about the possible financial “danger” in travelling to a destination that is not as well supported by international flight services.

“On one side there is a cost aspect in flying to Gan,” he said. “On the other hand, there is strong interest in creating more services to the destination, the government and airport are very keen to have us flying there.”

Ultimately, Ahmed said that the service would not been bound solely to Gan Airport and would initially aim to fly between the southerly Maldives’ island, Male’ and Hong Kong as part of a multi-destination flight service.

As an entirely new flight provider, Ahmed claimed Mega Maldives was not too concerned about potentially going up against established flight groups already flying to the Maldives, such as Emirates, Qatar and Singapore Airlines, as they were looking to operate a different kind of service.  “We operate on a scheduled charter model by working with travel agents, which will allow us to provide more reasonable fares,” he said. “Much like all flight operators in the Maldives, most of our traffic will be through tourism, though we can develop special partnerships with travel agents to offer special and one- off routes to destinations like India.”

Ahmed claimed that this strategy could also allow Mega Maldives to put on occasional “one-off” services to allow Maldivians to travel to special sporting or religious events abroad in the future.

In the long-term though, Ahmed claimed that Mega Maldives does also have aspirations for regional expansion of its services.

“We have interest in other markets in Asia, though we know we have competition, so we are keeping our cards close to our chest at the moment,” he said.

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22 thoughts on ““Maldivian feel” central to flight group’s Gan to Hong Kong aspirations”

  1. It's good to see the new airline tapping into the potential that Gan has to offer. Gan will be the new gateway to the Maldives, especially the growing tourism market in the south of the country.

    Gan airfield has been kept unused and wasted for over 30 years. There is a critical mass needed both in terms of tourist beds in the region and number of carries flying into Gan, before it will become a sustainable business, like Male' International Airport.

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  2. Potentially a great business opportunity for the people of Addu..All International airports have large and varied shopping areas,surely after all these years the government will give local businessmen first chance to provide those services..A duty-free area providing spirits for sale will need to be approved,its there in Male,so no objections should be forthcoming.International flights and an increase in tourism,should give Addu the best chance they have had since the RAF left 35yrs ago,lets hope so..Larry Dodds RAF Gan 69/70 and many time return visitor ..

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  3. Successive Maldivian governments always had the opportunity to make use of the Gan aerodrome, but they consistently refused to do so, for purely political reasons.

    This goes back to the 1950-60s when the people of Addu rose against the fascist regime of Ibrahim Nasir.

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  4. Ahmed,,,all of us airmen that were priveledged to serve on Gan,were aware of the attempted revolt in the 60s,what we were not aware of,and only recently found out about was>the total abandonment of the people of ADDU by both the British and Maldivian governments..35yrs on, will your new president and the business world give the Adduans the first chance to really make their mark in the Maldivian economy.Government help and the opportunity is all they need..

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  5. This could work.. let the Chinese take over Addu and run the place, afterall, Adduans love to be like foreigners...

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  6. http://hawaii-travel-news.com/archives/nonstop_service_for.html

    They seem to have started their flights in Hawaii. They seem to have sold out their tickets for six months. They seem to have never operated there.

    Dubious!

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  7. http://www.travelvideo.tv/news/hawaii/02-24-2009/hawaiiae™s-invisible-chinese-airline

    Here you go! A bit more google searching does make the Mega thing sounds more dubious ..

    Okay. this time we can see the aeroplane at Hulhule ..unlike for the Hawaiians .. Hopefully they'll get this thing working .. They did seem to find their way to Maldives in a very dubious manner ..

    Now that they are here .. Whatever it is .. we do need to make sure that these guys does the job right .. Meaning that they abide to international aviation regulations with maximum concentration on airline safety. These kind of airlines do tend to keep their cards close to their chests and tighten up their pockets.

    It's a Maldivian Airliner now. They need to keep the name clean.

    Agree or not?

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  8. Mifzal Ahmed is relative of Mariya, Mifzal Ahmed was involved in promoting maldives through government backed maldives investment promoting institute. Now these individuals who were involved in promoting maldives for investment have joined such foreign investments. i see corruption at a higher level.

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  9. I view this positively. It would be good for Maldives and Addu specifically. Hope things work out and there is no political interference, as is the trend in every development venture.

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  10. Keyolhu .. true! It's funny that Mifzal's father is the Ambassador in China .. it's funny how Mifzal left the country leaving Invest Maldives right after the Mega Global deal was done ..

    JeSter_, Funaabu .. WOW! nice read about Mega Global .. They disappeared from HONOLULU and appeared in HULHULE!!! .. Indeed the Maldivian counterpart and the foreign Mega Global is pretty DUBIOUS!

    Rasheed .. you are an optimist and it's good for you .. hope your dreams do come true .. !

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  11. This seem like a very common trick in China.
    With the help of Mifzal's father to promote the "Maldives deal" to the Chinese tourists.
    I am not surprise that the flight eventually take off just to attract more people to book their flight. Once the Air-tickets sold out for up to 6 months, Mega Global will stop operating!
    6 months of booking paid will have at least USD 5 millions profits.

    I am amaze that Maldives government issued the Airline Operating Certificate (AOC)without checking the company's background.

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  12. As some of you have highlighted, very dubious this deal dho?

    I don't have anything against China; and as far as I'm concerned Chinese, like anyone else, are most welcome.

    But this deal with one Chinese individual (and perhaps 1 American, maybe ex-Hawaian), along with our Chinese Ambassador and his son, who happened to be in the team looking for foreign investment on behalf of the country; hmmmm!

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  13. Its a good thing...But i think this will also be same as the previous airline from UK to Gan.It was also canceled at last..

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  14. Back here in England[Newcastle]a bogus airline executive/owner has just been sent to prison for taking a fortune in investors money to operate his airline that never existed..How can it be done??maybe you may find out..The more I read the comments the more I wonder..I hope it is all guesswork and the people of Addu eventually get their international airline...

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  15. W-Cap cannot be found because its not called W-Cap. Try looking for Waverly Capital, LLC from Dallas USA. Then you will find it!

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