Maldivian seeks expansion with airport project

Maldives' national flag carrier airline, Maldivian is working hard to expand operations to coincide with the ongoing project to expand the archipelago's main airport, the airline said Saturday.

Island Aviation Services (IAS) Managing Director Abdul Haris revealed plans to expand its fleet and train its staff before the airport expansion project is completed.

"Our primary focus is on expanding our seaplane services. We are in the process of adding five more planes to our fleet. One of those is expected to arrive in November and three more would be added early next year. We're expanding our seaplane services with the ever improving tourism," Haris said during a press conference on Saturday.

He also said the airline would add three more 'Dash 8' aircrafts to its domestic fleet early next year.

"More domestic airports are opening. More hotels and resorts are coming up. A Mercure property would open in Kooddoo island soon. The group would open another 200 bed property next year. So we're giving them exclusive transportation," Haris explained.

In addition to domestic operations, the airline is looking to add more cities in China and launch flights to South Africa as part of its plan to expand its international routes, according to Haris.

Expanding operations would mean that the airline would need to increase its human resource capacity especially pilots.

"There's a global pilot shortage. Major airlines are also struggling to get pilots," he added.

According to Haris, a huge emphasis would be given to train personnel next year.

"We're in discussions with the tourism ministry to establish a pilot pool. Pilots can only fly five years after they complete the training."