The Maldives has asked India for fifth freedom rights so the MEGA Maldives Airlines’ flight from Male’ to Delhi can extend its service to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

Fifth freedom rights permits an airline to fly from its own country to a second one, and from there to a third country, and so on. The journey must end at the airline’s home country.

“The Delhi-Dhaka route is highly underserved and we foresee a huge growth potential on this route,” says George Weinmann, founder and chief executive officer of MEGA Maldives Airlines.

The airline has shared that it hopes to launch a direct flight from Male’ to Mumbai from next month, and later expand to South Indian cities. From there, it is looking to extend the service to Jeddah and Medina.

Weinmann says, “The Male’-Mumbai flight would fly twice a week and we are also looking at flights from cities in southern India to Jeddah and Medina. We want to focus on [Indian] cities that are not already served.” 

India is an important market for the Maldives, with tourists making up five per cent of the country’s inbound traffic.