National airline Maldivian (Island Aviation Service Ltd) has signed an agreement with Addu International Airport Pvt Ltd to commence seaplane operations between Addu and Huvadhu Atoll. The seaplane operation is set to connect a network of four southern atolls; Addu City, Fuvahmulah City, G. A. Atoll, and G. Dh. Atoll.
The contract was signed by Island Aviation’s Managing Director Mohamed Rizvi and Addu International Airport’s Managing Director Gais Naseer on Saturday afternoon (3rd October). Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoon, Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail, Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sodiq, councilors, and parliamentary representatives for constituencies in Addu also participated in the signing ceremony.
Speaking during the ceremony, Minister Mausoom and Fayyaz said Island Aviation itself understands that it the seaplane operations will not be profitable in the short-run, but that it is a risk work taking to fulfill the government’s development goals for the Maldives, especially the southern Maldives.
Tourism Minister Mausoom said, “There are approximately 2,400 beds in the region [not open at present]. This is not a viable number for flight operations. This region needs at least 6,000 beds to facilitate flight operations. The year 2022 needs to be a remarkable year. It’s also the 50th anniversary to the commencement of tourism. Under the contract signed today to launch a seaplane hub, the year 2022 will be a year of additional initiatives and additional flight operations, making tourism in this region commercially viable.”
Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail said, “They (Island Aviation and Addu International Airport)have taken a great business risk. There is no great certainty this will be profitable in the coming months or even years. But without someone to take this risk, we cannot bring the desired economic progress to the nation, and especially, progress to the south. I have no doubt Island Aviation will generate profits from this in the coming years. But it will need to incur losses in the short-run. But overall, what we witnessed today is the beginning of something crucial for the success of Addu International Airport, and the success of the tourism industry in Huvadhoo, Fuvahmulah, and Addu,”
Meanwhile, it was also brought to attention that the launch may be deemed a risky move and may not be profitable in the short run.
Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail futher stated that although the agreement of seaplane operations in the southern Maldives has been signed, the renovation of the seaplane terminal and preparations for the overrall operations will take approximately 45 days to complete.
“I want to assure potential investors, international parties, airlines, and resorts in Huvadhoo that this [seaplane operations] has begun. In Sha Allah, there’s no doubt that daily operations between Huvadhoo and Addu will begin in a matter of one-and-a-half months,” he said.