Beond, a new luxury leisure airline based in the Maldives, was officially launched on October 10, 2023.
At a media event in Dubai, the airline’s CEO, Tero Taskila, shared details about the new startup carrier.
The airline unveiled its first aircraft, an A319 specially configured to carry 44 passengers, at Velana International Airport (VIA), in Male, the capital of the Maldives, during the previous day.
Beond announced that Munich (MUC), Zurich (ZRH), and Riyadh (RUH) would be the launch cities flying to the Maldives, with flights to and from Europe making a stopover in the Saudi capital. The airline also plans to add Milan to its network, starting in March 2024.
Taskila explained that since slots have recently become available at Dubai’s Al-Maktoum International Airport (DWC), it would soon be added to the network and serve as an intermediate point for European flights.
Beond aims to provide a premium experience that, in the words of its CEO, will deliver a seamless transition for holidaymakers to the Maldives.
To highlight this point, Taskila referred to the fact that the airline has opted out of offering internet connectivity and will offer personal iPads on demand instead of installing seatback screens.
“It is an element of digital detox,” Taskila explained, underlining that most luxury travelers go to the Maldives to disconnect from their busy professional lives.
While Beond will begin operations with an A319, it has selected the Airbus A321neo as the most suitable option for the long-term expansion of the airline The airline’s founders stated their aim to grow to a fleet of 32 aircraft and 60 destinations within five years.
The first A321neos, fitted with 68 lie-flat seats designed by Italian firm Optimares, are expected to join Beond’s fleet in 2024.
Taskila noted that the A321neo will be able to operate to and from the Maldives at a considerably lower cost than the international carriers currently serving the archipelago, such as Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and Etihad, which use widebody aircraft on their Maldivian services.
Relatively lower operational costs should enable Beond to offer competitive prices, in addition to doing away with the inconvenience of a change of aircraft, Taskila added.
As of October 10, 2023, return fares offered on Beond’s website were in the US$2,000 to US$3,500 range, depending on the point of departure and the bundle of services selected.
The brand and interiors, which combine hues of dark grey and copper, are the work of Paulwylde, a Californian design studio that has worked with prominent airline brands such as JetBlue, British Airways and Air Canada.
“While many airlines aspire to be a brand, we will become a brand that happens to fly planes,” Taskila said, stressing how important branding and the design of the overall experience are to the Beond project.
Beond’s inaugural flight between the Maldives and Riyadh is slated for November 9, 2023, with the Munich and Zurich services starting on November 15 and 17, 2023, respectively.