National airline Maldivian will add two ATR 72-600’s to its fleet to operate until the end of the busy season after the New Year‘s.
The two ATR 72-600’s will be wet-leased meaning the aircraft will be leased with an operating crew.
Maldivian presently operates with 10 De Havilland Dash-8’s however only 6 of the 10 Dash-8’s have been actively flying in the last few days.
The 4 inactive aircraft are reportedly faced with longer ground times due to maintenance issues.
In the last two weeks alone the national carrier has chartered over 60 flights from Manta Air and Villa Air Flyme as Maldivian was unable to cater the flights due to aircraft unavailability.
Although the current ATR’s are wet-leased for the season, Maldivian have long sought of replacing the aging Dash-8’s entirely with the newer in production ATR fleet.
The only Dash8 variant in production is the series Q400 and the series 200 and series 300 variant Maldivian operates is no longer in production thus it only makes sense to replace these aircraft for the long run.
The series Q400 is an unmatched turboprop considering its performances however the Q400 will be a costlier aircraft for the majority of the domestic routes operated by Maldivian which consists of very short-haul flights.
Although under an extended service program launched recently, the service life of the Dash 8 series 300 was extended by 50 percent, or approximately 15 years, to 120,000 flight cycles.
De Havilland had shown signs of developing a new turboprop in replacement of the 200 and the 300 series however there are no indications yet when these aircraft will be introduced.
Both Manta Air and Villa Air Flyme operate with ATR series aircraft.