More than 18 months after Air Maldives shut down, SriLankan Airlines is to become the main operator through the Maldives by launching services to two points in Europe and one in Asia.

SriLankan, still suffering in the wake of a July rebel attack at Colombo airport that destroyed four of its 12 Airbus aircraft and damaged two others, was in September due to have launched non-stop services between Male and London, Tokyo and Zurich. The routes started up during September using Airbus A330s and A340s.

The move has been warmly welcomed by tourism authorities in the Maldives, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean which are a popular holiday destination. The islands state has been without a national carrier since Air Maldives shut down early last year following a failed expansion attempt. The plan was to have seen Air Maldives dramatically expanding its fleet and launching new services between Male and Bangkok, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, London and Paris.

Attempts to start a new airline in the Maldives or relaunch Air Maldives have so far failed. Air Maldives was 51% owned by the Maldivian Government and 49% owned by Malaysia's Naluri.

Source: Airline Business