The first aircraft of the new domestic airline, Manta Air, arrived in Maldives on Tuesday.
Manta Air's first aircraft, an ATR 72-600, received a warm welcome as it landed at Velana International Airport. Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) also participated in the event to celebrate the occasion.
Manta’s first flight flew in from Denmark’s Billund Airport. The chief executive officer of Manta Air, Mohamed Khaleel, stated that flights will start operating after full authorization is granted from the Civil Aviation Authority of Maldives.
According to Khaleel, their first flight will fly from VIA to Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu Atoll. After that, Manta will start regular flights to Dharavandhoo in Baa Atoll and Thimarafushi in Thaa Atoll.
“In December, our second flight will land in the Maldives,” he said. “Within the first couple of months of next year, Manta Air will introduce seaplane services as well.”
Khaleel explained that the airline will offer passengers to choose from either ‘Sapphire’ class or ‘Comfort’ class.
In addition, Khaleel claimed that the airline was not introduced as a burden for the two domestic airlines that are already competing in the industry.
Furthermore, Khaleel declared that their main purpose is to create a competitive environment within the domestic airline market in order to dismantle the monopolies that exist. As a result of competition, the Maldives will see a drop in the prices of domestic flights, he said.
“Each person will be able to reserve and confirm their seats with ease, even if the seat is available six months before the flight,” he said. “You will not have to wait until the last minute to confirm your seat, which is a current issue among other airlines.”
The airline reported that passengers who choose to fly with them will be able to book seats according to their preference, and the flight schedule will be updated every six months.
Manta Air was founded by some shareholders of one of the strongest companies in the local tourism industry, Universal Enterprises, in conjunction with Reollo Investments Pvt Ltd.