Island Aviation Services, the parent company of Indian Ocean carrier Maldivian, is establishing a seaplane operation in the Maldives with a fleet of Quest Kodiak 100 single-engined turboprops.
The venture, branded Sky Atoll Private, is designed to tap into increased demand for transport from the archipelago's tourist industry.
The Malé-headquartered company has placed an initial order for four Kodiaks, which will be the first examples to be equipped with Aerocet 6750 straight, fixed floats. The composite structures secured certification on the all-metal, high-wing type earlier this year and are targeted at users who operate solely from water.
The aircraft delivery schedule and service launch date are now being firmed up, says Quest, which is owned by Japan’s Setouchi Holdings. "Exact timings have yet to be established, but we expect [Sky Atoll] services to commence in the near future," it adds.
The Maldives are made up of roughly 1,200 coral islands in the Indian Ocean and seaplanes are “the primary means” by which tourists travel to each resort from the international airport in Malé, says Quest. The scale of seaplane operations within the region “is among the largest in the world”, it adds.
Quest is seeing increased business from the amphibian sector: around 20% of the 230-strong global fleet of Kodiaks is equipped with Aerocet 6650 composite floats, it says. In 2017, around 25% of sales have been of float-equipped examples.