Island Aviation Services (IAS) has revealed that seaplane operation to Maafaru International Airport (MIA) will commence soon, and that a pilot training school will be established on the island.
Speaking at the ceremony held Sunday to officially inaugurate scheduled flights to MIA, Managing Director of IAS Mohamed Rizvi said the airport has great potential considering future prospects. Therefore, IAS intends to introduce new services at the airport, said Rizvi.
"There are many things to be done at this airport. Therefore, we hope to establish seaplane connectivity. We are also considering the establishment of training facilities [in Maafaru]. This includes pilot training and engineering MRO facility. However, this could take some time," said Rizvi.
Three scheduled flights are operated weekly to MIA by Maldivian starting Sunday. The number of flights will be increased to six starting January.
Rizvi said the airport has the capacity to land the airbus aircraft currently used by Maldivian, but the runway needs to be expanded in order to land bigger aircraft.
"Our team is capable of providing all services. This is the reason the government handed over the operation of the airport to us. We will start catering to all airlines from now," said Rizvi.
In response to a question posed by AVAS, Rizvi said there is demand to begin international flights to the airport.
"We have received requests to start private charters for international flights this month, as well as private jets. We are considering diverting some of our flights to China to this airport [MIA]," Rizvi revealed.
The development of MIA was funded by a US$ 60 million grant by United Arab Emirates (UAE)'s bi Dhabi Fund. The airport has a 2,200 meter long, 40 meter wide runway.