Maldives Airways was an airline based in Malé, Maldives. It was operational between 1984 and 1986, offering scheduled passenger flights using a fleet of two Douglas DC-8 aircraft. The usage of American-made airplanes was quite impressive, considering that Air Maldives, the state airline, was operating only one Short Skyvan at that time.
Maldives Airways was jointly owned and operated by the PLO. The PLO was a partner in the establishment of this airline of the Maldives and was also the owner of the Transportes Aéreos da Guiné-Bissau airline, then headed by Faiz Zaidan, who later would be charge of civil aviation for the Palestinian Authority.
This airline was one of the many companies which also functioned as a screen for the secret activities of the PLO at that time and Maldives Airways planes were engaged in smuggling weapons or drugs for the Palestinian Authority.
The Maldivian authorities allowed this airline to be operated from Maldivian soil without restrictions. But it is not clear whether they were aware of the nature of its operations. The maiden flight of this airline brought a group of local officials and travel agents from Malé to Gan Island in Addu Atoll and back.
The Maldives Airways aircraft could often be seen on the tarmac at Hulhule Airport, but it was not always known which routes they were making. There was at least one regular flight between Malé and Dubai (UAE) during the two years the airline operated.
Certain tourist resort operators were alarmed about the PLO having a foothold in the Maldives and the German press echoed those concerns, for the biggest share of tourist arrivals to the Maldives was from Germany. In 1986, the airline went bankrupt. In 1987 the two Maldives Airways DC-8s were sold to Connie Kalitta Services. People in the Maldives don't want to talk about this defunct airline now, especially local government officials.