New gateway in Maldives a gamechanger for southern atolls

Lagoon on Gan, the Maldives

Gan, in the south of the Maldives, recently opened up to international airlines, a development that could translate to an estimated three hours in time saving for travel to resorts in the south.

The introduction of this gateway eliminates the need to connect with a scheduled commercial flight from Male, 545km away, to get to the domestic airports in the south.

On December 1, SriLankan Airlines started flying from Colombo to the upgraded Gan airport, which was previously only served by domestic carriers Maldivian and Flyme.

SriLanka’s 110-minute flight departs Colombo at 06.55 four times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) using a 150-seat Airbus 320.

“Since we consider the Maldives our extended home market, we will explore every avenue to make sure that Gan receives the attention and visibility that it deserves,” said Saminda Perera, general manager – marketing, SriLankan Airlines.

Resorts in the southern atolls are expected to benefit from this, with John Allanson, general manager of Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort, saying that Gan is “virtually on the doorstep” of the resort and others in Seenu, Gnaviyani, Gaafu Dhaalu and Gaafu Alifu.

Outrigger was quick to respond to the development, adding an on-demand 30-minute Trans Maldivian Airlines seaplane service from Gan, Seenu said.

Hoteliers in the southern atolls now hope that more international airlines, especially those with big feeder hubs in the Middle East, will also introduce flights to Gan.

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