Manta Air begins flight operations

Manta Air, the new flying experience in the skies of the Maldives, has begun flight operations on Sunday.

Maldives Civil Aviation Authority granted Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to Manta Air on Thursday.

Manta Air currently flies between the country’s main Velana International Airport in Male and Dhaalu Airport, the airline’s main hub located on the island of Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu atoll. The route is served by daily four flights operating on a pre-published fixed schedule, giving travellers the flexibility to choose their preferred time of day to fly.

“After months of hard work, we are very excited to start our scheduled operations today. Flights to Kudahuvadhoo is just a beginning but a very important milestone for us. We will continue to expand our fleet, adding more routes and more destinations for our customers convenience. With our unwavering passion and customer focussed Manta culture, we will change the flying experience by making flying more enjoyable and effortless for everyone,” Mohamed Khaleel, CEO of Manta Air, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

Manta Air offers a wide range of fare categories depending on the date of booking, with very attractive super saver and saver fares for those seeking low priced tickets. The airline also has extended a special #MyMantaPromo until May 31, 2019, making its Super Saver and Saver fares available for early bird bookings.

Manta Air’s fleet consists of two ATR 72-600 series aircraft, which benefit from the widest cabin in the turboprop market, new ergonomic design for greater comfort, new seats, and wider overhead bins with 30 per cent 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.

The airline has gone the extra mile to customise seats to provide the best comfort with additional legroom in a two-class seating configuration — a first for a domestic airline in the Maldives.

Manta Air will welcome a third ATR 72-600 series aircraft soon, 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 second 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 other 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 140 plus resorts and over 500 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.

Seats are now available for purchase through Manta Air’s authorised Passenger Sales Agents (PSAs) and direct booking from the Manta Air website: www.mantaair.mv. For more details, please visit the official website or call the airline’s reservations number 3314477 or 7994405 during business hours.

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