IAG Cargo has launched a new direct service from Madrid, Spain to Male, capital of the Maldives, starting later this month. The service will run three times a week from Madrid-Barajas.

    The new service will strengthen IAG Cargo’s existing presence in South Asia, which already includes regular services into Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi in India. IAG Cargo’s extensive global network will allow customers in the Maldives and nearby Sri Lanka seeking to transport essential goods, such as textiles and perishables, access to key markets in Europe, Latin America, the United States and elsewhere. The new route will be operated by Iberia A330-200 and A330-300 wide-body aircraft.

    Commenting on the new service, IAG Cargo’s director of Spanish hub and operations, Fernando Terol Armas said: “South Asia is an important market for IAG Cargo, and we are very excited to open this new service for our customers in both regions. This route will not only support Maldivian exporters in getting essential and time-sensitive perishable products to global markets, but also support Sri Lankan exporters using Male as a gateway to Europe and beyond.”

    He continued: “With our hub in Madrid one of the largest in Southern Europe, this connection opens up opportunities for further import and export growth from Europe and beyond into South Asia.”

    The airline’s regional commercial manager for Asia Pacific and Middle East, Rob Wiemerink added: “I am delighted to be able to provide our customers with a further route between South Asia and Europe. Male is an important trade link for Sri Lanka, where garments, automotive goods and perishables such as fish are among the principal exports.

    “Exporters in the region will be able to benefit from our Constant Fresh product, ensuring produce arrives on supermarket shelves in peak condition. This will also be welcome news for exporters into the Maldives – in 2019, goods worth around $2.89 billion were imported to the Maldives.”

    In May, IAG Cargo reported a 50 per cent year-on-year revenue increase at constant currency for the first quarter of 2021, to €350 million. That figure represents a first quarter record for the company.

    The increase was attributed to the fact there were 1,306 cargo-only flights operated in the first quarter, up from 969 in the fourth quarter of 2020.