Long-haul, low-cost carrier AirAsia X is suspending flights to Male in the Maldives, blaming “challenging business conditions”.
The Malaysian airline will withdraw service to the Maldives from March 1 but will continue to run four flights a week from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo in Sri Lanka.
The suspension of the Maldives connection is being made to improve operating cost efficiencies and concentrate capacity in key markets of Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the airline said.
Passengers booked on suspended flights are being offered full refunds or re-booking to another destination.
Chief executive Azran Osman-Rani said: “The decision to withdraw from Male was a difficult one, but was made taking into account our business imperative to build sustainable and profitable routes.
“Despite our efforts, external factors such as the depreciation of Asian currencies against the US dollar and the chronic lack of hotel room supply in the Maldives resulted in cancellation of thousands of bookings by travel operators.”
He added: "As part of our strategy to operate more efficiently, the airline will deploy our aircraft to routes with the right level of demand to be financially viable.
“We have been very grateful for the huge support rendered by Male Airport, Maldives Tourism and relevant authorities and would like to put on record our appreciation for all the co-operation that has been given to us.”