One of the most unique and exciting experiences in visiting the Maldives is a seaplane ride from Velana Airport in Malé to the chosen island resort, which takes between 20 and 60 minutes.
What started as the Hummingbird Island Helicopters in 1989 has since become the largest seaplane operator in the world and the oldest most experienced air service in the Maldives. Using a fleet of currently almost 50 Twin Otter seaplanes, Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) services almost one million passengers a year on 120,000 flights. Rugged and reliable, this nineteen passenger STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) utility aircraft was developed by de Havilland Canada. Highly versatile and extremely popular, the short-haul commuter is flown around the world in locations that range from the arctic to arid deserts and jungles.
TMA has three terminals at the Malé International Airport and about twenty-three airport lounges equipped with amenities like Wi-Fi, satellite TV, travel boutiques and cafés. Additionally, there are nine luxurious resort lounges that offer snacks, fruit, soft drinks and even a special area to receive a quick massage. Many of the private lounges provide direct access the boarding docks through a rear exit. Walking out onto the docks to the seaplane is an exciting moment unique to a visit to the Maldives.
Seaplanes operate exclusively on water so there is no need for a runway, which makes both the take off and landing an incredibly smooth event. Most flights last anywhere from twenty-five to forty minutes and are a great opportunity to take postcard-like photos of the emerald green atolls against the crystal blue water. While descending into the resort, passengers can often catch glimpses of dolphins, sea turtles and sting rays beneath the plane.
Serviced by over 800 rigorously trained local staff members, TMA creates memorable journeys for passengers whether they are in the air or on the ground. As an intrinsic part of the Maldives experience, they strive to deliver the same warm and inviting customer experience that keeps both old and new visitors coming back to the islands again and again.
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