Air France, the French national airline, has launched direct flights to Velana International Airport (VIA), the National Airport of Maldives on Thursday.

At a special ceremony held on Thursday at VIA, the commencement of Air France flights from Paris to Maldives was launched. Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed and Senior Vice President of Air France Welma Blomm as well as the French Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Jean Marin Schuh attended the function along with several high-level government officials and airport staff.

“The commencement of Air France flights will act as a favorable boost to local tourism and economy.”

Minister Saeed said while speaking at this small function.

French Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Marin Schuh expressed pride and joy and said it was a great initiative and the new corporate relationship would solidify the bond between France and Maldives.

Air France will be operating their Boeing 777-200 flights from Paris to VIA. The flight boasts 260 economy class and 24 premium economy class as well as 28 business class seats for passengers. Flights would lift off from Paris at 20:50hrs in French local time and land the following day at 10:20hrs in Maldivian local time.

With Air France commencing its direct flights to Maldives, the number of French nationals visiting Maldives is expected to rise. The country had 28,844 visitors so far, this year while it marks an increase by a percentage compared to last year’s total visit count of 27,764.