Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) defended the title of World’s Leading Seaplane Operator at the World Travel Awards (WTA) 2018.
TMA received the title at the WTA Grand Final Gala Ceremony held at the historical Patio da Galé in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this month.
The company had previously brought home the accolade in the years 2014, 2015 and 2017.
TMA was founded in 1989 as a company operating a helicopter fleet under the name Hummingbird Island Helicopters. The name was changed to Hummingbird Island Airways in 1997 after the first seaplane was added to the fleet.
The transition to a seaplane-only fleet was completed in 1999 and the name was changed to Trans Maldivian Airways in 2000.
TMA currently manages a fleet of 50 seaplanes that operate regular flights throughout the Maldives, making it the largest seaplane operator in the world.
In February 2013, Blackstone, one of the world’s leading private equity firms in the world, acquired controlling stakes in two Maldives-based seaplane operators – Maldivian Air Taxi “MAT” and Trans Maldivian Airways “TMA”, and merged the two under the TMA brand.
A consortium led by US-based Bain Capital Private Equity and Chinese conglomerate Tempus Global had in December 2017 bought TMA from Blackstone for around USD 550 million. Bain Capital, which is headquartered in the US, owns approximately 80 percent of TMA.
In 2016, TMA operated over 120,000 flights, transferring close to a million passengers, including 80,000 residents.
Seaplane is one of the main modes of transport between main Velana International Airport and resorts located in the outer atolls.
The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to recognise excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. The WTA galas are attended by the industry elite, including government leaders and international media.