Travelling by Domestic Flights in the Maldives

June 24, 2024

Domestic flights play a crucial role in connecting the many islands and atolls of the Maldives. The island nation has over 200 inhabited islands in 26 atolls. Therefore, flying is often the best way to move around for both residents and tourists.

Currently, three domestic airlines operate flights in the Maldives; Maldivian, Villa Air, and Manta Air. These airlines fly from the Velana International Airport in Malé to other airports in the country. They offer regular scheduled flights and special charter services as well.

Domestic flights help people reach distant islands that might be hard to visit otherwise. The services are vital for tourism and to further the economy of smaller islands in the Maldives.

Travelling by Domestic Flights in the Maldives: Key Points

  • Domestic travel destinations in the Maldives: You can fly to 18 domestic airports across the Maldives. From these airports, speedboats are available to take you to nearby resorts or islands.
  • Booking a domestic flight from Velana International Airport: Typically, your holiday provider, resort, or guesthouse will arrange domestic flights for you. However, if you prefer, you can also book flights directly through the airline websites.
  • Chartering a Domestic Flight in the Maldives: To charter a domestic flight in the Maldives, you can contact the airline directly or use a booking agent. This option is ideal for those seeking a private and flexible travel experience.
  • Baggage allowance on domestic flights: You can bring up to 25 kg of checked luggage per person, plus 5 kg of hand luggage. Check the specific policies of the airline you're flying with to avoid additional charges.

Domestic Airlines in the Maldives

Three airlines operate domestic flights in the Maldives. Each airline has its own booking system, luggage allowances, and policies. It is a good idea to check these details when you book your flight.

Maldivian

Maldivian is the national airline of the Maldives. The airline has the most extensive network in the country. In addition to domestic flights, Maldivian offers international flights, seaplane operations, and cargo services. Here are all the domestic destinations Maldivian currently operates flights to:

  • Dharavandhoo Airport (DRV)
  • Faresmathoda Airport (FMT)
  • Funadhoo Airport (FND)
  • Fuvahmulah Airport (FVM)
  • Gan International Airport (GAN)
  • Kooddoo Airport (GKK)
  • Hanimaadhoo International Airport (HAQ)
  • Kulhudhuffushi Airport (HDK)
  • Ifuru Airport (IFU)
  • Kaadedhdhoo Airport (KDM)
  • Kadhdhoo Airport (KDO)
  • Madivaru Airport (LMV)
  • Thimarafushi Airport (TMF)
  • Maafaru International Airport (NMF)
  • Maavarulu Airport (RUL)
  • Hoarafushi Airport (HRF)
  • Velana International Airport (MLE)

Some routes by Maldivian may include a stop at another domestic airport before reaching the final destination.

Villa Air (FlyMe)

Villa air flight parked at Villa International Airport Maamigili

Villa Air, a subsidiary of the Villa Group, commenced its operations in October 2011. The airline uses Villa International Airport in Maamigili as its primary hub. Destinations served by Villa Air includes:

  • Maamigili International Airport (VAM)
  • Dharavandhoo Airport (DRV)
  • Velana International Airport (MLE)

Manta Air

Manta Air is the newest addition to the aviation scene of the Maldives. The airline started its operations in 2019. Manta Air operates ATR 72-600 aircraft for its domestic routes. Domestic destinations served by Manta Air include:

  • Dhaalu Airport (DDD)
  • Dharavandhoo Airport (DRV)
  • Velana International Airport (MLE)

Domestic Airports in the Maldives

The Maldives has a great network of domestic airports. There are 19 airports (including Velana International Airport) spread across different atolls. Therefore, you can reach almost any part of the country by air.

List of all the airports in the Maldives:

  • Hoarafushi Airport (HRF), Haa Alifu Atoll
  • Hanimaadhoo International Airport (HAQ), Haa Dhaalu Atoll
  • Kulhudhuffushi Airport (HDK), Haa Dhaalu Atoll
  • Funadhoo Airport (FND), Shaviyani Atoll
  • Maafaru International Airport (NMF), Noonu Atoll
  • Ifuru Airport (IFU), Raa Atoll
  • Madivaru Airport (LMV), Lhaviyani Atoll
  • Dharavandhoo Airport (DRV), Baa Atoll
  • Velana International Airport (MLE), North/South Male Atoll
  • Villa International Airport Maamigili (VAM), South Ari Atoll
  • Dhaalu Airport (DDD), Dhaalu Atoll
  • Thimarafushi Airport (TMF), Thaa Atoll
  • Kadhdhoo Airport (KDO), Laamu Atoll
  • Kooddoo Airport (GKK), Gaafu Alifu Atoll
  • Kaadedhdhoo Airport (KDM), Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll
  • Maavarulu Airport (RUL), Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll
  • Faresmaathodaa Airport (FMT), Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll
  • Fuvahmulah Airport (FVM), Gnaviyani Atoll
  • Gan International Airport (GAN), Addu Atoll

These airports make it easy to travel to different parts of the Maldives. For example, you can quickly reach far-away places like Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll or Addu Atoll in the south or Haa Dhaalu Atoll or Haa Alifu Atoll in the north.

How to Arrange Domestic Flight Transfers

Booking your domestic flight in the Maldives is seamless. However, the process can be slightly different depending on where you are staying.

For Resort Stays

If you're staying at a resort, arranging your domestic flight is usually easy. Here are the step-by-step instructions on what you need to do:

  1. Book through a holiday provider such as Maldives.com or directly with the resort
  2. Give them your international flight arrival and departure times
  3. The resort or the holiday provider will then arrange your domestic flight to match your schedule
  4. When you arrive at Velana International Airport, a resort representative will meet you
  5. They will guide you to your domestic flight or seaplane transfer

Many resorts include the cost of transfers in their packages. However, it's always good to check this when you book.

Transfers are always included in the package when you book your holiday via Maldives.com.

For Guesthouse or Hotel Stays

If you're staying at a guesthouse or local hotel, the process is slightly different:

  1. You can book through your holiday provider or directly with the hotel.
  2. Some guesthouses might ask you to book your own flight
  3. In this case, you can book directly with domestic airlines like Maldivian or Villa Air
  4. Make sure to provide your flight details to your guesthouse in advance
  5. Ask if someone will meet you at the airport (if not, make sure you know how to reach your final destination)

Remember, you might need a speedboat transfer to your island after your domestic flight. Check with your guesthouse on how to arrange the transfers.

Websites to Book Domestic Flights in the Maldives

  • Maldivian: https://maldivian.aero
  • VillaAir Flyme: https://villaair.aero
  • Manta Air: https://mantaair.mv

Why Travel via a Domestic Flight?

Choosing to travel by domestic flight in the Maldives has many advantages. Here are some of the main benefits:

  • Speed: Domestic flights are the quickest way to reach distant atolls in the Maldives. While a boat journey might take several hours, the same trip can be completed in much less by flight.
  • Night Travel: Unlike seaplanes, domestic flights can operate at night. So, you can arrive in the Maldives on a late-night flight and still reach your resort the same day.
  • Luggage Allowance: Most domestic flights allow you to bring 25 kg of checked luggage and 5 kg of hand luggage.
  • Scenic Views: Flying over the Maldives gives you amazing views of the islands and the ocean. It's the best way to start your holiday!
  • Comfort: Domestic flights are generally more comfortable than long speedboat rides, especially in rough seas.
  • Accessibility: Domestic flights allow you to explore some of the more remote and less touristy parts.

Things to Consider When Flying via a Domestic Flight

  • Additional Transfers: You might need a speedboat transfer to reach your final destination After your domestic flight.
  • Schedule Limitations: Flights may not be as frequent as you'd like, especially to smaller airports. You might need to plan your schedule around available flight times.
  • Weather Dependency: Like all air travel, domestic flights can be affected by bad weather. This could lead to delays or cancellations.
  • Luggage Restrictions: While the allowance is generous, there are still limits. Check the flight policy before you pack.

Private Domestic Flight Charters

For some travellers, chartering a private domestic flight might be a good option. A private charter is suitable for:

  • Large groups travelling together
  • People attending special events or weddings in the Maldives
  • Those with particular travel time requirements

Private charters offer more flexibility for departure times and sometimes the ability to fly directly to smaller airstrips. However, they are usually more expensive than regular scheduled flights.

To arrange a private charter:

  • Ask your resort or travel agent if they offer this service
  • Contact domestic airlines directly about charter options

Weather Considerations for Domestic Flights

  • Monsoon Season: The Maldives has two monsoon seasons. From May to October, the southwest monsoon can bring rain and strong winds. This might affect flight schedules.
  • Delays and Cancellations: Bad weather can cause flights to be delayed or cancelled. It's a good idea to have a flexible schedule, especially during monsoon season.
  • Alternative Plans: If your flight is cancelled due to weather, you might need to stay overnight in Malé or take a boat transfer if possible.
  • Travel Insurance: It's highly recommended to get travel insurance that covers flight cancellations and delays.
  • Stay Informed: Keep in touch with your airline or resort about any potential weather-related changes to your flight.

Tips for a Smooth Flight Experience

To make your journey as easy as possible, here are some helpful tips:

  • Book early: Popular routes can fill up quickly, especially during high season.
  • Confirm your flight: It's a good idea to reconfirm your flight a day or two before departure.
  • Arrive on time: Get to the airport at least an hour before your domestic flight.
  • Keep important items with you: Pack any essential items in your hand luggage.
  • Be prepared for small planes: Domestic flights often use smaller aircraft. If you're nervous about flying, be prepared for this.
  • Stay flexible: Remember that schedules can change due to weather or operational reasons.
  • Enjoy the view: Don't forget to look out the window! The aerial views of the islands are a part of your journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can you travel by domestic flight in the Maldives? Domestic flights can reach most atolls, including remote ones like Addu and Gaafu Dhaalu. There are 18 airports across the Maldives, ensuring broad accessibility.

How can I arrange a domestic flight transfer from Velana International Airport to my resort? Book through your holiday provider or directly with the resort. The resort often handles the coordination of flight times with speedboat transfers.

What is the luggage allowance for domestic flights? Passengers are typically allowed up to 25 kg of checked luggage and 5 kg of hand luggage.

Why should I choose domestic flights over seaplanes? Domestic flights offer more flexibility, operate at night, and generally allow more luggage. They are also crucial for reaching distant atolls.

What should I consider when booking a private domestic flight charter? Consider the size of your group, the cost, and the flexibility it offers. Charters can ensure same-day transfers and customized schedules.

How does the weather affect domestic flights in the Maldives? Weather can cause delays or cancellations, especially during the monsoon season. Having travel insurance and flexible plans is advisable.

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