Domestic airlines in the Maldives are not up to standard, said the COO of a new domestic carrier due to launch in October.
Reollo, a resort and construction company, is launching Manta Air with four seaplanes and three 72-seater ATR planes to destinations including Dhaalu Atoll, Raa Atoll, Baa Atoll and Thaa Atoll from the country’s main international airport.
State-run Maldivian and FlyMe, which is owned by tycoon and exiled opposition leader Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Group, are the country’s two domestic carriers.
“We are launching this service because the current domestic airline is not up to standard,” said Reollo COO Mohamed Khaleel. “We want to offer better connectivity and better service (to our clients).”
He told TTG Asia it was considering reducing the number of seats in the aircraft and providing a business class section.
Manta is expected to serve the group’s 20-plus resorts around the country, TTG Asia reported Monday, and has begun a recruitment drive.
The government of President Abdulla Yameen is pushing airport development hard.
Tourism Minister Moosa Zameer has said it is the administration’s policy to have an airport “30 to 40 minutes” away from every inhabited island, and that it will stop leasing out resorts to focus on airports.
But the expansion programme has angered environmentalists, who say building contractors are not doing enough to minimise the damage caused by airport construction.
There are 11 airports operating in the Maldives, including four international ones. The 2018 budget included funding for airports in Kulhudhuffushi, Funadhoo, Nilandhoo and Maavarulu.