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A Brand-New Luxury Airline From the Maldives: Can it Compete?

A Brand-New Luxury Airline From the Maldives: Can it Compete?

BY GEORGE MWANGI 09/06/2023 AGO 1 COMMENTS

A new airline is set to launch in the Maldives later this year. BeOnd is a luxury airline that offers flights for passengers exclusively in business class. On September 5, BeOnd announced plans to launch three routes from its hub at Velana International Airport (MLE) in the Maldives in November.

 



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BeOnd will offer direct flights to King Khalid International Airport (RUH) in Riyadh, Munich Airport (MUC), and Zurich Airport (ZRH) from the Maldives. Passengers can also fly to Zurich on Edelweiss Air and Riyadh on Saudia and Flynas. The first flight is set to fly from Riyadh to the Maldives on November 9. Flights from the Maldives to Zurich will commence on November 15 and 17, respectively. The European routes will stop for refueling in Riyadh due to the long distance.

 

Photo: Ch-aviation

 

Beond currently has one Airbus A319 with 44 lie-flat seats in business class. The airline plans to eventually add Airbus A321neos to its fleet, each with 68 lie-flat seats in business class. None of Beond's aircraft will offer economy class. The airline aims to acquire more than 30 aircraft within the next five years.

 



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BeOnd plans to offer nonstop flights to almost 60 destinations in 25 countries on four continents. An online map reveals that the airline plans to serve destinations in France, Austria, India, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the future. Direct flights to the Americas are unlikely since the distance exceeds the range of the A319 and A321neo aircraft. 

 

Photo: BeOnd

 

Beond posted on its website about the benefits passengers will receive on its flights. These benefits include private chauffeuring, airport lounge access, and high-quality in-flight meals. Even though other airlines already offer these amenities, Beond aims to set itself apart by catering to leisure travelers instead of business travelers who use business class. The airline will have an advantage here since most international tourism to the Maldives is for leisure.

 

Sascha Feuerherd, Max Nilov, and Tero Taskila first announced BeOnd in January 2022. The airline is a joint venture between UAE-based investment firm Arabesque Partners and the Maldivian trading company SIMDI Group. All three partners have decades of experience in the aviation industry. BeOnd recently received certification to fly from the Maldives Civil Aviation Authority, which provided the airline with its Air Operator's Certificate.

 



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Tero Taskila, Beond's Chairman and CEO, said the following after the company secured $17 million in funding from investors in August: "[This] investment will empower BeOnd to realize its full potential and deliver on the promise of both this ground-breaking business model in the airline industry and pioneering experience for passengers. Beond will operate a premium leisure experience for customers while bringing to bear the benefits of a lightweight, low-cost operation based on the collective decades of experience of our team."

 

Photo: BeOnd

 

BeOnd has outlined multiple goals that it plans to meet in the coming years:

 

  1. The airline wants to hire pilots and cabin crew for its routes and additional employees for product development and innovation.
  2. The airline plans to attract customers by increasing its brand visibility and market reach.
  3. The airline will enhance the passenger experience by investing in lie-flat premium seats across its aircraft.

 



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It is currently unknown if Beond can compete against established airlines offering Maldives flights. Fares on Beond's website show that flights cost more than $4,500 roundtrip, which is much higher than those provided by other carriers. Furthermore, Beond's lowest fares do not include lounge access or private chauffeuring.

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George Mwangi
Aviation writer based in Washington, DC. Visited 21 countries on thousands of miles of flights.

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