Trans Maldivian Airways welcomes 53rd aircraft, to add three more

Maldives’ main seaplane operator Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) has announced plans to add four additional seaplanes to its fleet, with the first of the four arriving in the Maldives Thursday.

In what the airline calls its most aggressive expansion drive in its history of more than 30 years, TMA took delivery of its 53rd aircraft on Thursday. It was ferried from Santa Maria, Portugal and reached the Maldives’ main Velana International Airport at around 6.10pm.

The remaining three aircraft are scheduled to arrive in the Maldives in the upcoming months, expanding the airline’s fleet to 56 aircraft.

“TMA has played a pivotal role in developing the tourism infrastructure in Maldives and the latest addition to its fleet is in line with its commitment to serve the growing demand with the new upcoming resorts and also provide added flexibility to all its partner resorts,” a statement issued by TMA read,

“As the company welcomes the 53rd aircraft to its fleet, it would like to thank all its partners for their invaluable contributions and everlasting support in the growth story of TMA.”

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 53 Twin Otter aircraft 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.

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