Maldives Adds New Airport Departure Tax In 2022

Maldives Adds New Airport Departure Tax In 2022

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Airline tickets to & from the Maldives are becoming more costly, regardless of whether you’re paying cash or redeeming miles.

The Maldives’ new departure tax

Back in July 2021, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih signed into law an amendment that will see a change to the taxes and fees that passengers pay when departing the country. At first there were some questions about the implementation of this, but we now have all the details, especially as this will fully be going into effect shortly.

Through December 31, 2021, passengers departing the Maldives pay $50 in airport taxes & fees, including:

  • A $25 airport service charge when departing internationally, regardless of which airport travel is from
  • An additional $25 airport development fee when departing internationally from Velana International Airport (MLE)

For travel as of January 1, 2022, a new tiered departure tax will replace the two current charges. As of 2022, passengers can expect to pay the following total amounts in airport fees:

  • $60 for non-residents traveling internationally in economy class
  • $120 for non-residents traveling internationally in business class
  • $180 for non-residents traveling internationally in first class

Since these new fees replace the flat $50 amount you’d pay for any class of service, that means departure fees are increasing by:

  • $10 in economy class, representing a 20% increase
  • $70 in business class, representing a 140% increase
  • $130 in first class, representing a 260% increase

The new departure tax will be waived for passengers with diplomatic immunity, and children under the age of two years. On top of that, residents of the Maldives don’t have to pay these increased fees.

Airlines are responsible for collecting the new departure tax, so they’re being added to the actual ticket costs — you won’t have to pay in person, or anything. This seems to already be reflected when booking tickets. For example, I just pulled up American AAdvantage award tickets for travel on SriLankan Airlines from Male to Colombo.

For travel on December 31, 2021, you’d pay $50 regardless of whether you’re traveling in economy or business class.

For travel on January 1, 2022, you’d pay $60 in economy or $120 in business class.

Your Maldives vacation will cost you more as of 2022

Is this departure tax greedy, or fair enough?

In general I’m opposed to tourist destinations putting up barriers to visiting, whether that come in the form of complicated visas, or expensive fees for entering or departing. That being said, for the Maldives I don’t think that’s totally unreasonable.

The country arguably has too many tourists already (at least pre-pandemic), and generally visitors to the Maldives aren’t as price sensitive as in other destinations. If the money from these taxes could actually help the people of the Maldives in a positive way, then I’m all for it.

Of course the government actually spending the money in the best interest of its people is probably a completely different story, and a big ask. But in principle I don’t think this is unreasonable…

The Maldives has no shortage of tourists

Bottom line

For travel as of January 1, 2022, aviation taxes will be increasing for foreign travelers departing the Maldives. Instead of the current flat $50 in airport taxes & fees, travelers will instead pay $60 in economy, $120 in business class, or $180 in first class. That represents an increase of anywhere from $10 to $130, or anywhere from 20% to 260%.

While this should hardly put a dent in an overall budget for a Maldives trip, it’s at least worth being aware of.

What do you make of the Maldives’ new departure tax?

(Tip of the hat to Mainly Miles)

Conversations (11)
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  1. azamaraal Guest

    I just upgraded an award from MLE to CMB (Y to J) as part of a trip back to SEA. I am getting a refund according to the agent. Ticketed back in August.

    I won't be surprised to see extra charges appear when final ticketing is done. It won't bother me as I was on a second ticket from CMB with horrendous taxes in CMB so I will still get a refund I hope.

    It...

    I just upgraded an award from MLE to CMB (Y to J) as part of a trip back to SEA. I am getting a refund according to the agent. Ticketed back in August.

    I won't be surprised to see extra charges appear when final ticketing is done. It won't bother me as I was on a second ticket from CMB with horrendous taxes in CMB so I will still get a refund I hope.

    It certainly does not bother me that there are these taxes. Just compare with the horrendous fees in LHR that have kept me from visiting Blighty for over a decade. Maldives are a different kettle of fish :-)

    Thanks for the update again.

  2. Anna Guest

    These are just for new bookings, right? I bought a ticket back in September, but I don't travel until January. Will I be hit with some sort of extra fee somehow?

  3. Billy STL Member

    This needs to be like LHR
    #taxtherich

  4. David Guest

    Under ICAO charging principles, airport taxes, departure taxes, etc. are supposed to be used only for aviation services, not to pay for general government services or otherwise to benefit the local population. Not all countries respect this, but it’s misguided to say this tax increase is okay if the government spends it to help its people. That’s starting down a slippery slope and sets a dangerous precedent.

  5. Carl Guest

    What about those who already purchased a ticket for travel in 2022? Will they be charged the difference?

  6. Gabe Guest

    It's all fine with airport taxes as many other places have them too; however, when you charge a tax like that, you better have good service and infrastructure (expectations come with a charge like that). I was in the Maldives last month, and I saw they are constructing new terminal building (probably will include jetbridges in the future), which they should as the Maldives are very popular among Europeans. I don't mind help funding that...

    It's all fine with airport taxes as many other places have them too; however, when you charge a tax like that, you better have good service and infrastructure (expectations come with a charge like that). I was in the Maldives last month, and I saw they are constructing new terminal building (probably will include jetbridges in the future), which they should as the Maldives are very popular among Europeans. I don't mind help funding that expansion. However, waiting in line for almost an hour through immigration is not exactly the kind of service that one would expect if all visitors are paying the tax. I think the tier-ing of the charge (economy vs business vs first) is an attempt to rob people of more money. Headcount is what an airport cared about, and it's none of their business what class of service a passenger took. Unless they provide a speedier service for first and business class going through immigration, then that may be okay. While I was there, I did see a separate immigration line for first and business class; however, it also was the slowest line for some reason.

    Bottom line: I don't see the level of services at the Maldives airport to justify a tiered tax charge increase at this point. Let's hope they improve the level of the service!

    1. Eskimo Guest

      So after your fair rant. Does LHR justify their tax?
      Don't keep your hopes up for MLE.

  7. CSP Guest

    never mind! wasn't looking at your screenshots close enough!

  8. CSP Guest

    does this apply to award tickets?

    1. Ron mexico Guest

      Oh my gawd. How will we survive. Lol

    2. SST Guest

      It DOES apply to frequent flyer tickets, at least according to Singapore, who just charged me an additional $69.xx per ticket in order to change a date from July 2020 to November 2020.

      THAT shitshow took over 3 hours between hold time and the one incompetent employee who couldn't handle charging my AMEX and had to transfer me to someone else who was trained on their system. That first 2 hours on hold, listening...

      It DOES apply to frequent flyer tickets, at least according to Singapore, who just charged me an additional $69.xx per ticket in order to change a date from July 2020 to November 2020.

      THAT shitshow took over 3 hours between hold time and the one incompetent employee who couldn't handle charging my AMEX and had to transfer me to someone else who was trained on their system. That first 2 hours on hold, listening to how I can use "Kris, their Chatbot, for several services" (but not this) is far more irritating than the $60 apiece.

      (Pouring a large martini now).

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SST Guest

It DOES apply to frequent flyer tickets, at least according to Singapore, who just charged me an additional $69.xx per ticket in order to change a date from July 2020 to November 2020. THAT shitshow took over 3 hours between hold time and the one incompetent employee who couldn't handle charging my AMEX and had to transfer me to someone else who was trained on their system. That first 2 hours on hold, listening to how I can use "Kris, their Chatbot, for several services" (but not this) is far more irritating than the $60 apiece. (Pouring a large martini now).

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Ron mexico Guest

Oh my gawd. How will we survive. Lol

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azamaraal Guest

I just upgraded an award from MLE to CMB (Y to J) as part of a trip back to SEA. I am getting a refund according to the agent. Ticketed back in August. I won't be surprised to see extra charges appear when final ticketing is done. It won't bother me as I was on a second ticket from CMB with horrendous taxes in CMB so I will still get a refund I hope. It certainly does not bother me that there are these taxes. Just compare with the horrendous fees in LHR that have kept me from visiting Blighty for over a decade. Maldives are a different kettle of fish :-) Thanks for the update again.

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