Maldivian, the national flag carrier, is undergoing a comprehensive modernisation plan to replace its ageing fleet with state-of-the-art aircraft by the beginning of next year, according to Ibrahim Iyas, the managing director of Island Aviation Service Ltd. (IASL), the operator of Maldivian.

At an event held at Velana International Airport (VIA) to commemorate the arrival of Maldivian’s fourth ATR aircraft, Iyas revealed that the company has already invested in excess of MVR 1 billion to procure new ATR aircraft. The first of these aircraft joined Maldivian’s fleet in January 2023, marking the commencement of the airline’s ambitious fleet renewal process.

Despite the financial challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Iyas stated that Maldivian has managed to secure newer aircraft. This was made possible through a significant financial support package extended by the government, according to him.

“This is a source of joy for all our customers. We are receiving positive feedback. As we augment the number of modern aircraft, our on-time performance will also see a significant improvement,” said Iyas.

The addition of the third ATR aircraft has already yielded positive results, with a 14 percent increase in the airline’s on-time performance. Iyas revealed that Maldivian has placed an order for three additional ATR aircraft, two of which are set to arrive later this year, with the final aircraft scheduled to join the fleet in early 2025.

Once all these new aircraft are operational, Maldivian will have completed the renewal of its ageing fleet, thereby fulfilling a key objective of the airline’s modernisation plan, he added.

Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Mohamed Ameen described the new addition as a significant milestone for the Maldives’ aviation industry at the event. “The aim of our government is to address the challenges facing Maldivians when we took office and, by the end of this year, ensure Maldivians operate flights to far-flung destinations,” said Ameen.

With Maldivian accounting for 90 percent of all domestic air travel, he added that the government accords a high priority to assisting the national flag carrier in expanding its services.

In addition to the four ATR aircraft, Maldivian’s current fleet includes one Airbus 320 aircraft, eight Dash 8-300 series aircraft, two Dash 8-200 series aircraft, and 11 DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft. The airline is also looking to dry-lease an Airbus A330-200 aircraft and a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to expand its international operations, with operations commencing in late October or early November.