Maldivian domestic carrier Island
Aviation Services has received an international air operator’s certificate
(AOC) and plans to launch international passenger services in July and later in
the year add its first Bombardier Dash 8-300.
The carrier currently has a fleet of
one Dash 8-200, one Dash 8 Q200 and two Dornier
228-200s that it uses domestically but it is now seeking to add a Dash 8-300,
says the airline’s spokesman in Male, adding that it will consider both the
-300 and the newer-model Q300.
It has published a notice in ATI’s sister publication Flight International asking for offers
to be submitted by 1 March.
The carrier wants to either purchase
or dry-lease the aircraft, says the spokesman, adding that it wants the
aircraft in a single-class configuration.
“We are planning to get the [Dash
8-300] aircraft by October or November,” says the spokesman.
“The -200 has 37 seats and the -300
has 50 seats. The -300 is required for domestic sectors depending on demand.”
The spokesman adds that having a larger-capacity Dash 8 gives the airline
greater flexibility to meet increases in passenger traffic.
Island Aviation Services currently
serves four destinations from its Male base.
The new international services will
launch using the Dash 8-200 or Q200 and the first will be from the Maldives
to Trivandrum in
Its international services will be
from the capital Male. But the carrier also plans to have international
services from other destinations in the Maldives,
namely Gan in the south and Hanimaadhoo in the north,
although currently Male is the only place in the country that has an
international airport, says the spokesman.
This means the airline is speaking
to the authorities about having international customs, immigration and
quarantine facilities installed at the other two airports so these too can
handle international passengers.
The spokesman declines to say which
other cities overseas the airline is planning to serve but says that even
though southern India is the first it also plans to serve other countries.
Once the third Dash 8 joins the
fleet, the airline will be looking to add more aircraft but at this stage the
spokesman declines to comment further on this.
A statement on the airline’s website
says the Maldives Civil Aviation Department on 21 January officially granted
Island Aviation Services an international AOC.
The Maldives’ Government owns Island
Aviation Services and launched it as a domestic operator in 2000. It was first created using some of the assets of failed
international flag carrier Air Maldives,
which was a joint venture between the Government and Malaysian company Naluri.
Island Aviation Services faces increased competition on
domestic routes because next month local carrier Trans Maldivian Airways, which
currently only operates 19-seat aircraft, plans to add a 50-seat ATR 42 to its
The spokesman says the country’s tourism industry “is very
healthy. All the resorts are full and there are new resort developments coming
up and these new resorts will be opening” in this year’s second half.