Seaplane operator TMA expands fleet to 49

Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) has brought in another aircraft, expanding its fleet to 49.

The De Havilland DHC-6 Series 300 aircraft, which was leased from Canada-based Beau Del Leasing, arrived Friday evening at Velana International Airport after completing its journey from Calgary city in Canada.

With the latest addition to its fleet, TMA operates an all-amphibian fleet of one DHC-6-100, one DHC-6-200, 44 DHC-6-300s, and three DHC-6-400s on regular flights throughout the Maldivian archipelago.

In 2016, TMA operated over 120,000 flights, transferring close to a million passengers, including 80,000 residents.

This year alone, TMA has brought in three aircrafts.

TMA’s fleet expansion comes in line with the growing tourist arrivals and increasing bed capacity as new resorts open up across the Maldives. The airline says that there are plans to bring more aircrafts to meet the demand and cater to the increasing tourist arrivals.

The world’s largest seaplane operator is controlled by US venture capital firm Blackstone, which in 2013 acquired controlling stakes in two Maldives-based seaplane operators — Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian Airways — before merging the two under the TMA brand.

Recent media reports, however, said that Blackstone was considering a sale of its stake in TMA. These reports came months after Chinese conglomerate Zongshen Industrial Group (ZIG) announced plans to acquire a stake in the seaplane operator.

In addition to TMA, Maldives’ flagship carrier Maldivian also operates a fleet of nine seaplanes.

Seaplane is the preferred mode of transport between the main Velana International Airport and dozens of resorts, especially those located in the outer atolls.

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