In December alone national Airline Maldivian has chartered more than 100 flights from Manta Air and Villa Air Flyme.
Numerous flights were chartered from Manta Air and Villa Air due to the unavailability of the carrier’s aircraft to operate these flights.
Maldivian’s Managing Director Mohamed Mihad has said the aircraft are grounded due to scheduled maintenance.
During the worse, nearly 4-5 of the carrier’s fleet’s 10 DeHavilland Dash-8 were grounded.
It is normal for aircraft to be grounded for scheduled and unscheduled maintenances and at times charters are absolutely necessary to operate all scheduled flights however there was never a time such a high number of charters was required.
For comparison, the airline is presently operating 20 to 25 flights per day on average however before this the carrier operated more than 40 flights per day at peak.
Charter flights would cost airliners more money as normally these flights are priced accordingly for a flight with full passenger load regardless of the actual number of seats occupied.
As charters can cost nearly 5,000$ (MVR 77,100) for an hour 100 charters can easily cost MVR 15 million for the national carrier.
Manta Air and Villa Air have so far operated flights to Hoarafushi, Hanimaadhoo, Maafaru, Ifuru, Kadhdhoo, Kaadedhdhoo, Maavarulu, Fuvahmulah, and Gan carrying passengers for Maldivian.
Maldivian has said the airline will wet-lease two ATR 72-600 series aircraft to meet the flight demand.