The Maldives’ privately operated airline, Manta Air, has launched direct flights between Bengaluru, in India, and Kudahuvadhoo Island in Dhaalu (Dh) Atoll on Friday.

Manta Air’s inaugural flight operated on the route landed at Dhaalu Airport on Friday. This is the first international flight operated out of the airport.

Manta Air had earlier highlighted that direct flights from Bengaluru to Dhaalu Airport would save tourists travel time to resorts. Previously, Indian tourists had to travel resorts exclusively via Velana International Airport (VIA).

The new route will provide greater convenience and flexibility to tourists visiting the top resorts in Dhaalu Atoll— Kandima Maldives, a luxury resort in Dhaalu atoll, is one such property and is closely affiliated with Manta Air.

India is currently the fifth largest tourist market for the Maldives while Bengaluru is a popular destination among Maldivians for medical treatment, higher education, and holidays.

Manta Air is one of the largest private airlines in the Maldives and operates seaplane services as well as regular domestic flights — regular domestic routes are flown on ATR 72-600 aircrafts.

Maldivian, the national carrier, had operated direct flights between Hanimaadhoo International Airport and two destinations in India; Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi, while SriLankan operates direct flights from Colombo to Gan International Airport.

The launch of direct flights to India from Dhaalu Airport will, for the first time, open up direct international access to the central region of the Maldives.