Manta Air welcomes second aircraft

Manta Air, the new flying experience in the skies of the Maldives, has welcomed the second aircraft to its fleet.

The aircraft arrived in the Maldives Sunday afternoon.

The second addition to Manta Air’s fleet is also the latest ATR 72-600 series aircraft, which benefits from the widest cabin in the turboprop market, new ergonomic design for greater comfort, new seats, and wider overhead bins with 30 percent more roller bags stowage. They are also the lowest seat per mile cost aircraft on the 70 seat segment, thanks to significantly lower fuel and maintenance costs compared to its competitors.

As with its first ATR 72-600 aircraft, which arrived last month, Manta Air has gone the extra mile to customise seats to provide the best comfort with additional legroom.

“With the expansion of its fleet, Manta Air aims to stay true to its core goals when it starts its operations; cater to the need for more domestic transport options and support the rapid development of domestic airports and the fast-paced expansion of resorts and guesthouses across the country,” a statement issued by the airline read.

“Manta Air is now in the final preparation stages to take its guests across the tropical skies of Maldives and will start its operations one MCAA [Maldives Civil Aviation Authority] gives the go ahead.”

Manta Air is set to begin its operations to Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu atoll soon. The airline will welcome a third ATR 72-600 series aircraft in January 2019, allowing it to expand its operations to Dharavandhoo in Baa atoll and Thimarafushi in Thaa atoll.

In addition to turboprop aircraft for domestic operations, Manta Air is also in the process of acquiring Twin Otter seaplanes in order to launch its seaplane service in the first quarter of 2019.

Manta Air was founded in 2016 as a joint venture between Deep Blue Private Limited, a local company with multiple investments in tourism, and tourism pioneer Umar Mohamed Maniku. The company was created to cater to the need for more air travel options and to support the rapid developments in the aviation industry in light of the development of new airports and the fast paced expansion of resorts and guesthouses across the country.

Maldives flagship carrier Maldivian and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Air are the only two airlines currently active in the Maldives. Seaplane services are provided by Maldivian as well as privately run Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA), which has the largest seaplane fleet in the world.

Launching of a new domestic airline comes amidst increased efforts by the government to expand the air transport network in the Maldives.

Over a million tourists from across the globe visit the Indian Ocean island nation every year to holiday in one of the 130 plus resorts and over 400 guesthouses located in all corners of the country. The multi-billion dollar tourism industry, which is the country’s main economic activity, relies heavily on the domestic transport infrastructure, especially air travel.

Maldives, the most dispersed country on the planet with 1,192 islands spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres, already has 11 airports, including three international airports. The government has contracted both local and international companies to develop additional domestic airports across the archipelago in a bid to boost tourism.

Meanwhile, a USD 800 million mega project has been launched to expand and upgrade the main Velana International Airport. The project involves building a brand new runway, an international passenger terminal and a seaplane terminal as well as other support facilities, including a fuel farm that can store 45 million litres and a 120,000 tonne cargo facility.

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