Maldivian partners with aircraft manufacturer Quest to begin new seaplane operation with Kodiak planes
Maldivian has entered into an agreement with Quest Aircraft Company to begin a new seaplane operation that uses a fleet comprising the Japanese-owned company’s Kodiak aircraft, in a move expected to give a major boost to the Maldives flagship carrier’s existing seaplane operation.
In a statement, Quest parent company Setouchi Holdings said the joint venture between Maldivian’s parent company Island Aviation Services (IAS) established a new seaplane operation, Sky Atoll Private Limited. An initial order of four Kodiak 100 aircraft has been placed to kickstart the new programme, it added.
According to Setouchi Holdings, the Kodiaks being delivered to Sky Atoll will utilise the Aerocet 6750 straight floats, which were certified on the aircraft earlier in 2017.
“We are pleased that after a rigorous operational evaluation in the Maldives, the Kodiak proved that its robust construction and short field performance made it the ideal aircraft Island Air Service’s single-engine float operations,” Rob Wells, CEO of Quest Aircraft Company, was quoted in the statement, as saying.
The Kodiak 100 is available with either straight or amphibious Aerocet composite floats. Thanks to its original design parameters, the Kodiak does not require any structural changes or aerodynamic fixes for float operations, which in turn makes it a highly stable seaplane. It’s also the fastest seaplane once airborne, cruising at 162 ktas.
Headquartered in Idaho, United States, Quest Aircraft Company is a Japanese-owned aircraft manufacturer, which was formed in 2001 to design and provide aircraft suitable for domestic and international humanitarian applications. Its sole product is the Kodiak single engine STOL aircraft.
The joint venture comes weeks after Maldivian announced a major expansion of its seaplane operations with plans to add five more aircraft soon.
Maldivian began seaplane operations in 2014 and has since expanded its seaplane fleet to nine aircraft. The airline currently flies to six resorts in the Maldives.
Seaplane is the preferred mode of transport between the main Velana International Airport and dozens of resorts, especially those located in the outer atolls.
In addition to Maldivian, privately run Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) operates a fleet of 49 seaplanes, making it the largest seaplane operator in the world.