Departure tax is included in air ticket prices.
If you’re on a package, you’ll usually have little or no choice about the airline you fly, as it will be part of the package. However, packages without flights are available, so in those cases it pays to shop around for both scheduled and charter deals. More and more chartered airlines are selling flight-only seats and these can be good deals, so check their websites as well as those of scheduled carriers. The other advantage of charter flights is that you can fly direct from Western Europe to Male, without the change in the Middle East that is common for scheduled airlines.
Flights can be booked online at www.lonelyplanet.com/bookings.
Almost every visitor to Maldives arrives at Velana International Airport, on the island of Hulhule, 2km across the water from the capital island, Male. It’s an aged terminal awaiting an upgrade to a world-class airport terminal that has been on the cards for years, but progress has been agonisingly slow, though it is now finally being built.
Two further airports in the country receive international flights: Hanimaadhoo International Airport, which has a weekly flight to Trivandrum in India and Gan International Airport, which has two flights a week to Colombo in Sri Lanka.
The national airline is Maldivian, which connects Maldives internationally to various cities in China, India and Bangladesh, as well as throughout the country domestically. A second domestic airline, FlyMe, operates flights that are often cheaper than those on Maldivian, though at present it only flies to two routes within the country. A third airline, Mega Maldives Airlines, connects Male to Beijing and Shanghai only.
The international carriers serving Male are a mixture of scheduled and charter airlines. Some airlines only fly in certain seasons and many change services frequently in line with traveller demand. These include:
Air Asia (www.airasia.com)
Air France (www.airfrance.com)
Air India (www.airindia.com)
Austrian Airlines (www.aua.com)
Bangkok Airways (www.bangkokair.com)
British Airways (www.ba.com)
Cathay Pacific (www.cathaypacific.com)
China Eastern (www.ceair.com)
China Southern (www.csair.com)
Edelweiss Air (www.flyedelweiss.com)
Fly Dubai (www.flydubai.com)
Hong Kong Airlines (www.hongkongairlines.com)
Korean Air (www.koreanair.com)
Japan Airlines (www.jal.com)
Malaysia Airlines (www.malaysiaairlines.com)
Oman Air (www.omanair.com)
Qatar Airways (www.qatar-airways.com)
Singapore Airlines (www.singaporeairlines.com)
SriLankan Airlines (www.srilankan.aero)
S7 Airlines (www.s7.ru)
Thai Airways (www.thaiairways.com)
Turkish Airlines (www.turkishairlines.com)