Maldivian, the national flag carrier, will enhance its international operations by adding wide-body aircraft to its fleet in October, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Mohamed Ameen has revealed.

Island Aviation Services Ltd. (IASL), the operator of Maldivian, is leading the investment in wide-body aircraft. This initiative aligns with President Mohamed Muizzu’s pledge to enhance the Maldivian fleet with wide-body aircraft within the first 100 days of his term.

President Muizzu’s cabinet decided in December 2023 to allocate the necessary funds for the investment to support this expansion. These funds will be provided through the financing facilities available to the Ministry of Finance, enabling IASL to acquire two wide-body aircraft.

At the ‘Ahaa’ public forum, Ameen commended the significant progress made by IASL in acquiring wide-body aircraft. However, he also highlighted the time-consuming process of transferring the aircraft’s registration to the Maldives.

Earlier this year, IASL requested proposals to dry-lease an Airbus A330-200 aircraft and a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. The Airbus aircraft will be dry-leased for five years, while the Boeing aircraft will be leased for six years.

“By late October or early November, the national carrier will begin scheduled operations to some destinations in China and Europe. By then, the national carrier will have wide-body aircraft,” Ameen said.

Maldivian had previously operated flights to several destinations in China, but these were halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, Maldivian operates flights to Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Bengaluru in India, Colombo in Sri Lanka, and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The current fleet of Maldivian includes two ATR72 aircraft, one ATR42 aircraft, one Airbus 320 aircraft, eight Dash8-300 series aircraft, two Dash8-200 series aircraft, and 11 DHC-6 Twin Otter Aircraft.

The airline had previously operated an Airbus A321 aircraft, which was discontinued due to high maintenance costs. Established in 2000, IASL is a 100 percent state-owned company.