Maldivian, the national carrier of the Maldives, has announced a revision in its operational procedures to prioritise emergency medical transports over scheduled flights. This decision comes in response to a tragic incident that resulted in the death of a minor, allegedly due to delays in arranging emergency transport to Malé for further treatment.

The Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Mohamed Ameen, revealed the policy change. He stated that, effective immediately, Maldivian will prioritise the transportation of patients in emergencies upon receiving information from a hospital.

Ameen took to X (formerly Twitter) to announce the policy change, stating, “Starting today [Saturday], changes will be implemented to Maldivian policies. If an emergency case arises, the highest priority will be given to medical transport in the flight schedule.” He acknowledged that the previous policy, enacted a decade ago, was time-consuming in its procedure and initiation.

The policy revision comes amid growing criticism on social media following the death of a 13-year-old boy from Villingili Island, Gaafu Alifu Atoll. Critics, along with the family of the deceased, have raised allegations that the unfortunate demise of the boy was a consequence of the delay in arranging his airlift to Malé for further treatment.

Emergency charter flights to transport critical patients from the islands to Malé are a crucial service in the Maldives, given the geographical dispersion of the islands and the need for rapid transport to centralised medical facilities in emergencies. President Mohamed Muizzu had earlier pledged to introduce air ambulance services starting 1 March.

Critics alleged that the administration had refused to utilise aircraft provided by the Indian government—two navy helicopters and a Dornier aircraft—to conduct the medical evacuation of the boy from Villingili due to a decision by the Muizzu administration on expelling Indian military personnel responsible for operations and maintenance of these assets.

Following the recent revision of the policy on emergency medical transports, Maldivian has successfully conducted three medical transport flights within the past 24 hours. Among the patients transported to Malé for advanced treatment was an individual from Fuvahmulah City who had been severely injured in a road accident and was on ventilator support.