Maldivian Airlines has signed a pact with the Chennai-headquartered Apollo Hospitals to give discounts to each others’ clients. For example, Apollo Hospitals will give a discount on its service charges for those who fly the airline, and the airline will give similar discounts to the hospital’s patients on the airfare.
The airlines’ Managing Director, Abdul Haris, said it is keen on signing similar pacts with other healthcare service providers in India. He said the Indian healthcare industry attracts the bulk of Maldivian tourists every year. Every day, at least 200 Maldivians visit India, and a big chunk of them go there for medical care. Besides, quoting some statistics, he said, on an average, every Maldivian spends $600 in India.
He also pointed out that the number can be much more provided the Indian Government scraps the mandatory 60-day waiting period between every two visits. Though there is no need for a visa for Maldivians, the government has imposed the 60-day waiting period. “To that extent you lose forex revenue,” he said.
Besides bringing in Maldivians, by connecting Chennai and Dhaka, the airline hopes to bring in a lot of health tourists to India. So far, there was no direct flight from Dhaka to Chennai, Haris said.
The airline recently introduced new destinations in India such as Chennai (three times a week) and Mumbai (three times a week) from Male. It also proposes to connect New Delhi with Male very soon. With the expanded network, the airline hopes to increase its passenger load factor many times. Earlier, the airline has been operating between Male and Thiruvananthapuram twice a day, flying more than 150 passengers both ways.