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Barefoot pilots of the Maldives and their Lifestyle

Ribakova Elena
08 November 2021, MVT 12:52
Maldives Barefoot Pilots and their Lifestyle
Maldives Barefoot Pilots and their Lifestyle
Maldives Barefoot Pilots and their Lifestyle
Ribakova Elena
08 November 2021, MVT 12:52

One of the most unique and exciting experiences in visiting the Maldives is a seaplane ride from Velana Airport in Malé to the chosen island resort, which takes between 20 and 60 minutes.

This famous Indian Ocean destination is naturally made of 26 atolls filled with over 1,000 picturesque islands occupied by dozens of luxury resorts, all spread out over 90,000 square kilometers.

As more resorts open in farther-flung areas, traveling to them by boat from Velana International Airport is simply unfeasible for most. That's where Trans Maldivian Airways comes in.

The world's largest seaplane operator, it has a fleet of 50 aircraft flown by about 200 pilots and operates more than 100,000 flights per year, carrying passengers to dozens of Maldives resorts.

Unlike regular commercial airlines, Trans Maldivian's schedule changes by the hour, depending on the needs of the resorts and whether passengers are arriving for their holiday or rushing to catch their international flight home. Operations are crammed into a relatively short time frame as the planes only fly during the day.

A typical day at Trans Maldivian Airways usually lasts from sunrise to sunset.

There are a couple of things that separate the pilots of Trans Maldivian from their global commercial counterparts.

For one, their runway is obviously the water. Secondly, their attire.

Though the pilots wear a conventional uniform from the waist up, this is accompanied by shorts and sandals.

It's quite a sight, seeing these mavericks of the skies kick off their sandals, tan lines showing as they maneuver the air-con-free plane from its aquamarine base into the sky, engines growling loudly, the smell of fuel permeating the air.

"We call ourselves 'barefoot pilots' because when we're in the airplane we actually kick our sandals off and fly barefoot on the pedals," said Captain Andrew Farr.

Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) services almost one million passengers a year on 120,000 flights.

Serviced by over 800 rigorously trained local team members, Airways creates memorable journeys for passengers whether they are in the air or on the ground. As an intrinsic part of the Maldives experience, they strive to deliver the same warm and inviting customer experience that keeps both old and new visitors coming back to the islands again and again.

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