Trans Maldivian Airways crowned Indian Ocean’s Leading Seaplane Operator

Maldives’ main seaplane operator Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) has been crowned Indian Ocean’s Leading Seaplane Operator at the 2018 World Travel Awards.

The award was presented at the African and Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony of the World Travel Awards, which took place at the Durban International Convention Centre (Durban ICC) in South Africa on October 6.

TMA started in 1989 as a company operating a helicopter fleet under the name Hummingbird Island Helicopters.

Eight years later, the name was changed to Hummingbird Island Airways, as the first seaplane was added to the fleet. The transition to a seaplane-only fleet was completed in 1999. A year later, the name Trans Maldivian Airways came to be, and still today represents a synonym for connecting the Maldives islands.

In February 2013, Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment and advisory firms, acquired controlling stakes in TMA and its sole competitor Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT), and merged the two under the TMA brand.

A consortium led by US-based Bain Capital and Chinese conglomerate Tempus Group had in 2017 bought TMA from Blackstone for around USD 550 million.

TMA currently operates an all-amphibian fleet of 50 aircraft — one DHC-6-100, one DHC-6-200, 45 DHC-6-300s, and three DHC-6-400s — on regular flights throughout the Maldivian archipelago, making it the largest seaplane operator in the world.

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

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

World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

Each year, World Travel Awards covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region. World Travel Awards Gala Ceremonies are widely regarded as the best networking opportunities in the travel industry, attended by government and industry leaders, luminaries and international print and broadcast media.

The 2018 African and Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony marked the sixth leg of the WTA Grand Tour 2018 – a series of regional events to acknowledge the world’s outstanding travel brands. Events on the tour include Ras al Khaimah (United Arab Emirates), Athens (Greece), Hong Kong, Guayaquil (Ecuador) and Montego Bay (Jamaica).

The regional winners will progress to the Grand Final 2018, which is being hosted in Lisbon (Portugal) on December 1.

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