New domestic carrier Manta Air received its first aircraft, the turboprop ATR 72-600 this November. The airline held a special function to mark the event, which saw the attendance of senior officials from the Civil Aviation Authority, National Air Security, Customs, Immigration and the Maldives Airports Company Private Limited (MACL).
The airline’s CEO Mohamed Khaleel said in a statement: “At Manta Air, our goal is to provide all our customers with a reliable, friendly and hassle-free travel experience. Our brand-new aircraft will have more leg room and quieter cabins than other carriers and we’ll make sure everyone on board is delighted with the experience. We wish to make seamless domestic air travel accessible to as many people as possible.”
At the moment, there are two turboprop carriers: the state-owned airline Maldivian, operated by Island Aviation Services and Flyme, owned and operated by Villa Air. Meanwhile, seaplane transfers remain the most popular means of travel to distant resorts with Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) dominating the market and carrying close to a million passengers a year. Seaplane transfers are also on Manta Air’s horizon with the company already advertising positions for its forthcoming Twin Otter operations.
The robust growth of the domestic tourism industry, including the surge of smaller scale guesthouses in the islands has led to an increased demand for travel. Manta Air aims to meet these demands while providing a new experience in the skies.
Manta Air, established in 2016, is a joint venture between local hospitality company Deep Blue Private Limited and the tourism magnate Mohamed Umar Maniku.