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Villa Air’s FlyMe acquires new ATR aircraft

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Maldives Promotion House – Maldivian carrier Villa Air, commercially known as FlyMe, is about to become the very first operator of an ATR -600 series aircraft in the archipelago. The airline will start operating an ATR 72-600 which has been delivered to the US-based lessor GECAS (GE Capital Aviation Services Limited), the commercial aircraft leasing and financing company of GE, who is leasing the aircraft to Villa Air. The aircraft, after arriving in the Maldives, will perform its inaugural flight between Malé and Maamigili, the main hub of Villa Air in early February.

This new generation ATR 72-600 will allow Villa Air to expand the airline’s fleet and boost service to cities destinations it already flies to: from Maldives’ capital Malé to airports in Maamigili, Gan and Dharavandhoo. Villa Air already operates a fleet of 2 ATR 42-500s aircraft deployed on domestic routes in the islands.

The ATR 72-600 is equipped with a new full-glass cockpit and is configured in a highly comfortable 66-seat layout. The modern Armonia cabin features extra legroom, new seat trim and shapes and wider overhead luggage compartments. In addition to the performance advantages and enhanced comfort, this aircraft will bring additional capacity to meet the needs of Maldives’ rapidly strengthening travel demand and address the sustained growth of the Maldivian travel market.

Qasim Ibrahim, Chairman of the Villa Group, underlined “the importance of offering new standard of comfort to passengers as well as the outstanding inter-island capabilities of the new ATR 72-600. We are delighted to upgrade our fleet with the most modern 70-seat regional aircraft renowned for its environment friendliness. We want to associate our growth to the preservation of the environment in the Maldives.”

Filippo Bagnato, Chief Executive Officer of ATR, declared: “We are pleased that the advantages of the -600 aircraft, starting from the outstanding comfort standards, are now available for passengers in the Maldives”. He added: “The Villa Group of companies has a strong commitment to the environment and this is exemplified by their choice of the most “Green” aircraft available today. It’s an exciting new chapter for ATR today, which underscores the strong confidence that Villa Air has in ATR, and underlines the Maldivian market’s growth potential. Finally, GECAS has an outstanding track record of placing airplanes with airline customers around the world. We are pleased they continue to expand their portfolio of ATR aircraft.”

Malé-based Villa Air was incorporated in 1997 by the Chairman of Villa Group Hon. Qasim Ibrahim with a vision to build an airport and to create an airline, baptized later FlyMe, owned by Villa Group. Villa Air/FlyMe had its maiden flight on October 1st 2011 between Villa Airport Mamigili (VAM) and Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. The beginning of commercial operations of FlyMe to VAM creates a 24/7 safe and convenient air corridor between Male International Airport and south Air Atoll. Today Villa Group is the proud owner of the only ICAO Certified (Domestic/Private) airport in Maldives.

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World doubles tennis ace Mate Pavic returns to Vakkaru Maldives to serve up exclusive sessions

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Vakkaru Maldives is thrilled to announce the return of former World No.1 men’s doubles tennis player Mate Pavic to the luxurious island paradise. For the second time, from 9 to 11 November, Mate Pavic will be offering the resort’s guests the extraordinary opportunity to partake in an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime tennis experience.

The Croatian tennis sensation has left an indelible mark on the world of professional tennis as a former world No. 1 in doubles. He has consistently showcased his remarkable talent on the court with an impressive record of six Grand Slam championships, including triumphs at the 2018 Australian Open alongside Oliver Marach and the 2020 US Open with Bruno Soares. In 2021, he teamed up with Nikola Mektić to win the doubles title at the Wimbledon Championships and an Olympic gold medal. Most recently, he won the mixed doubles title at the 2023 Wimbledon Championships with Lyudmyla Kichenok.

From 9 to 10 November 2023, Pavic will hold one exclusive tennis clinic per day for a few lucky guests who will get the rare opportunity to play and learn from the best. Additionally, Pavic will play one exhibition match against the resort’s resident coach, Miha Plesnik, on 11 November.

This second collaboration with Mate Pavic reaffirms Vakkaru’s position as one of the best destinations in the Maldives for guests looking for a world-class tennis experience. Since 2020, the resort has elevated its guest experiences with an intensive tennis programme in partnership with Tipsarevic Luxury Tennis – founded by former World No. 8 tennis player Janko Tipsarevic. The resort’s cobalt -blue courts were recently refurbished and resurfaced by the same company responsible for the Australian Open tennis courts and other international-level courts worldwide.

During his stay at the island resort, Pavic will bask in a luxurious villa with panoramic ocean views and a private infinity pool. He will also enjoy top-tier amenities and the renowned Vakkaru hospitality that the island is celebrated for, including various wellness treatments at the Merana Spa, exquisite dining options, and a chance to explore the marine wonders of Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

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Navneet Verma Joins Vakkaru Maldives to elevate yoga, wellness offerings

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Award-winning luxury resort Vakkaru Maldives has announced the arrival of Navneet Verma, as its new wellness team leader.

Navneet is a certified yoga instructor and has a Master’s degree in Yoga and Science of Living from Jain Vishva Bharati Institute in India. He also has a post-graduate Diploma in Yoga from Kaivalyadhama, India, one of the oldest pioneering yoga institutes in the world. Additionally, he has various certifications in food and nutrition, Western spa massages, fitness training, aerial yoga, Ayurvedic massage, Yin yoga and sound healing.

With Navneet’s arrival, guests at the resort can immerse themselves in a unique blend of holistic activities. From the ethereal tones of Crystal Singing Bowl and Sound Bath Meditation to the soulful rhythms of Mantra Chanting Sessions, every experience promises serenity. Younger guests will find joy in specially curated Kids’ Yoga sessions.

Fitness enthusiasts can partake in an array of sessions, such as Island Runs with Navneet, Super Stretch Sessions, and invigorating Beach Workouts.

Those seeking a one-of-a-kind celestial experience will find solace in the monthly Full Moon Yoga combined with Crystal Singing Bowl Meditation.

For guests aiming for a more personalised touch, Navneet will craft customised wellness programmes to meet individual preferences and requirements.

Navneet is passionate about helping guests achieve their wellness goals and creating a truly holistic experience. He is also committed to providing guests with a fun way to get fit and healthy.

“I am excited to join the team at Vakkaru and to share my passion for wellness with guests from all over the world. I believe that wellness is not just about physical fitness, but also about mental and emotional well-being,” he says.

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Ken’s job is just Beach… now yours could be too!

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Luxury resort group, Coco Collection, is hiring for the role of Beach.

The successful applicant will spend 10 nights on the picturesque shores of the island of Coco Bodu Hithi, with minimal responsibilities and a whole host of employment benefits available to them.

From Barbie’s Malibu Beach to Beach in the Maldives. Coco Collection – the luxury resort group– has announced they are hiring for the role of Beach, to give one lucky fan who has had Kenough of the Real World the chance to spend 10 nights living Ken’s job of the last 60 years. The first role of its kind outside Barbie Land is now available to apply for via www.cococollection.com/en/coco/hes_just_ken  

The successful candidate will be flown out to the breathtaking Coco Bodu Hithi resort, where they will take up the role of Beach for 10 days out from reality, while the Real World Kentinues on without them. Located in North Malé Atoll, Coco Bodu Hithi offers picture perfect white sandy beaches, not to be Kenfused with your average coastline. With the island boasting beautiful shorelines the entire way around, the winner can quite literally Beach on whatever side of the beach they want to Beach on.

Like all job applications, prospective candidates must meet the below criteria:  

  • Ability to stand proudly in the sand 
  • Spend endless hours staring out over the Indian Ocean 
  • Keep track of the morning waves
  • Empty their head of all thoughts
  • Have their rollerblades with them at all times (though good luck using them on the sandy beaches of the island…)
  • Be comfortable performing a moody solo musical number and/or group dance sequence
  • Proficient at guitar
  • Know the words to “Push” by Matchbox Twenty by heart
  • Have at least two pairs of sunglasses at all times
  • Hold and lean on a surfboard
  • Have 60 years experience as Beach (preferred but not essential) 

The role excludes:

  • Any Real World stress or actual work
  • Lifeguard responsibilities
  • Surfing dangerous waves
  • Any of the sort of spirituality that comes with surfing
  • Horses… or the patriarchy
  • Medical training
  • Beach-offs (strictly due to health & safety reasons)

Job benefits:

  • Your own Dream Beach House – or shall we say Mojo Dojo Casa House – located conveniently on a beach 
  • Guaranteed tan (perfect hair at Beach’s discretion)
  • No official uniform but access to a wardrobe of stylish accessories 
  • No actual responsibilities
  • Perfect weather, all the time
  • Unlimited time to socialise
  • 10 nights stay at Coco Bodu Hithi for Beach plus a partner or Allan of their choosing
  • Return economy flights from UK to Malé & resort transfers
  • Full board meal plan at a select resort restaurant 
  • One massage each at the Coco Spa (as Beach is tiring work) 

Coco Collection’s Director of Marketing, Shafa Shabeer says “Beach is one of the most important jobs in the Maldives and at Coco Bodu Hithi, we have a lot of Beach. We look forward to seeing the Kenergy that entrants bring to their applications, and can’t wait to welcome the successful Beach candidate to Coco Bodu Hithi!” Applicants do not need to have previous experience, but they must be a registered UK resident over the age of 18 years, and have serious Kenergy, whether they are a Barbie, Ken or Allan. Prospective Beach goers will need to submit 150 words explaining why they are Kenough for the role. Applications are open now on www.cococollection.com/en/coco/hes_just_ken and will close at 4pm (MVT) on 31st August 2023. Coco Collection will select the winner by 30th September 2023.

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