The national airline of Maldives “Maldivian” has released their scheduled flights from Maldives to Cochin for the upcoming month, with flights taking off to Cochin from Velana Internaltional Airport and as well as from Hanimaadhoo International Airport. With the prices for the journey set to $150 (MVR 2313) and $199 (MVR 3068.58) respectively.
Concerns have been raised by the public with massive outcry in social media regarding the pricing of the tickets. Tickets from Hanimaadhoo International Airport even though being much closer to the destination seems to have a higher price with a $49 (MVR 755.58) difference compared to that of the much further Velana International Airport.
If we take a closer look, we see that the distance from Male to Cochin to be 709.48 kilometers and from Hanimadhoo to be just 489.82 kilometers away, and taking fuel consumption into consideration, the prices seems way too unfair, thus the public’s complaints.
But could there be other reasons at play?
A possible reason could be that Hanimadhoo International Airport not having the necessary facilities thus inuring additional costs and the airline getting forced to hike up the ticket prices. If this is the case, it is high time for the government to take necessary steps and develop the airport to the standards and ensure that fair rates are available to the residents of H Dh atoll.
The beautiful islands of H Dh is currently lacking a solid tourism infrastructure, missing out the economic benefits of the tourism industry and the social development that comes with the main pillar of the country’s economy. With the atoll now being connected to India it will become cheaper and more accessible for travelers, making the atoll lucrative more for potential investors. India is also becoming the fastest developing market for Maldivian tourism, which registered an increase of 86 per cent of tourist footfall from India within a span of one year. Thus, new developments of the airport may be the spark that is needed for the start of tourism in the atoll.
Moreover Cochin has always been a popular city for locals with frequent visits by many for the medical purposes and thus making it even more important to set fair prices from Hanimaadhoo to Cochin.