Virgin Atlantic has launched direct flights between the United Kingdon and the Maldives. The airline’s maiden direct flight embarked from London’s Heathrow Airport and arrived at Velana International Airport (VIA) at 7:40 a.m. on Monday.

The inaugural flight’s arrival at VIA was celebrated with traditional ‘Boduberu’ music and cultural performances. The ceremony was attended by the British High Commissioner to the Maldives, Caron Rohsler, and senior officials from Maldives Airports Company Limited (MACL). Representatives from Voyages Maldives Pvt. Ltd., the local agent for the airline, were also in attendance.

Virgin Atlantic will operate three weekly flights on the London- Malé route, and will be serviced by the airline’s Boeing 787 aircraft, which boasts 31 upper-class seats, 35 premium seats, and 192 economy seats. With the addition of Malé, Virgin Atlantic’s extensive network now includes 32 destinations across the globe, with a fleet consisting of 41 aircraft. 

Mr Mahjoob Shujau, CEO and Managing Director of MACL, hailed Virgin Atlantic’s direct flights between the UK and the Maldives as a significant stride in enhancing air connectivity between the two nations.

“As the operator of Velana International Airport, we are excited to welcome the prestigious and customer-centric airline, Virgin Atlantic. This inaugural flight marks a significant milestone in the enhancement of air travel connections between the United Kingdom and the Maldives,” he said. “We look forward to a prosperous partnership with Virgin Atlantic as we continue to elevate the travel experience for our passengers.”

Ms Rohsler expressed her delight over Virgin Atlantic’s commencement of direct flights between Heathrow and VIA. “Maldives is a top holiday destination for British tourists. Brits have consistently featured among top 3 nationalities visiting Maldives for many years,” she said. “The UK Government has worked with the Government of Maldives for many years now on airport safety and aviation security. I look forward to continuing our partnerships in Maldives, especially as the airport expansion progresses.”

Established by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson in 1984, Virgin Atlantic places innovation and exceptional customer service at its core. In 2022, APEX recognised Virgin Atlantic as Britain’s only Global Five-Star Airline for the sixth year running in its Official Airline Ratings.

For over 15 years, Virgin Atlantic has been at the forefront of sustainability leadership. The airline is committed to achieving Net Zero by 2050 and continually implements measures to reduce its environmental impact. Operating one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets today, Virgin Atlantic has reduced its absolute carbon emissions by 35% over the last decade.