National airline expands services to India

Maldivian airlines have announced plans to expand regional services to a further three destinations in India this month.

The Island Aviation Services (IAS)-owned company is to introduce flights to Mumbai and Chennai as of tomorrow (November 15), operating services to both cities will three times per week.

Maldivian will simultaneously launch services to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh via Chennai, and new services to the capital New Delhi from Male’ to commence in April 2013.

The airline currently connects Trivandrum from Male’ daily.

The move comes after IAS inducted an A320 aircraft into its fleet configured with 12 business class and 138 economy class seats.

GMR Male’ International Airport Pvt. Ltd CEO Andrew Harrison noted that the growing number of tourists from India as well as Maldivians travelling to India would benefit from these new services.

“We look forward to further expansion of Maldivian’s routes to India and beyond for the benefit of passengers and cargo shipments,” he added.

Flights to and from Male’ and Mumbai will operate on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, whilst flights to and from Male’ and Chennai will operate Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.


National airline gets new chairman

Mohamed “Pilot” Naeem of Maafannu Dhullisaage was last Thursday appointed chairman of Island Aviation Services (IAS), the Maldives national airline.

Naeem’s resume includes airport director and director of civil aviation.

The position was vacated when Mohamed Umar Manik (MU Manik) resigned from the post earlier this month.

Manik had served as chairman for seven years.


Island Aviation braces for GMR handover earnings hit: report

Last week’s handover of Male’ International Airport to infrastructure giant GMR could cost airline group Island Aviation Services (IAS) as much as Rf90m in a one-off annual loss based on the company’s own estimates, according to news reports.

As of November 24, 2010, a number of operations handled by IAS such as international cargo, ground handling and domestic passenger services were taken over by GMR as part of a long-term expansion programme it has undertaken at the transport hub.

Speaking to Haveeru, IAS Managing Director ‘Bandu’ Ibrahim Saleem said that the loss of the operations was expected by the group to be initially substantial to overall operations.

“Some claim that it would be a very small amount. But it is not. Despite the fact that several employees are leaving us we are still determined to take the company forward. But at this point we need to make some sacrifices,” he told the newspaper.

“We do not want to complain about the change in this situation. I thank all those who instructed the employees. All the employees who are leaving us today are faithful to the nation and are dedicated.”

Saleem claimed that the financial impact of handing over the operations to GMR was expected to be felt next year as a one-off hit to the group’s earnings.

In looking to IAS’ future though, the company’s Managing Director was optimistic that proposals it has submitted to the government in relation to Kaadehdhoo Airport reflected potentially lucrative new avenues for the company to explore, according to the report.