DALLAS – ATR today made an excellent start to 2023 by delivering the first ATR 72-600 to Maldivian (Q2). With this new aircraft, the national carrier and largest airline of the small country of the Maldives is now in possession of its first ATR turboprop. The type will enhance passenger traffic operations on the 18 paved runways distributed along the main islands of the territory.
This first unit is equipped with the brand-new Pratt & Whitney PW127XT engines, which are the replacement power plant for the next generation of the ATR family, offering the possibility to operate with 20% lower maintenance costs and 3% lower fuel consumption.
At the delivery ceremony, Mohamed Mihad, Managing Director of Q2, stated: “When flying onboard our latest generation ATR turboprops, our passengers will benefit from the best of both worlds: the convenience and comfort of air travel and the guarantee of the lowest emission regional aircraft on the market.”
Maldivian placed in January 2022 a shy order of two ATR 72-600 and one ATR 42-600, which are all expected to be received by the airline in the coming weeks, and have all been already assigned national registrations (8Q-IAY, 8Q-IAZ, and 8Q-IAX, respectively).
Due to the sudden rise in demand at the end of the year, the Indian Ocean carrier was forced to arrange an additional ATR 72-500 from the Spanish ACMI Swiftair (WT), registered as EC-KKQ, which was previously operating for FlyBe (BE).
Island Hopping in the Maldives
Composed of 26 small coralline islands, the Maldives is one of the many populated archipelagos that can be found worldwide. With its population of more than half a million inhabitants, the logistics required to move tourists and workers from island to island goes beyond maritime transport and, since 1974, required airlines to be founded to support all the air travel demand at the time.
Nowadays, four main airlines are operating less than 30-minute flights between the islands with small regional propellers such as the Twin Otter or ATR, along with some international connections mainly to close countries such as Bangladesh, India, or Sri Lanka.
Of the 23 aircraft registered in the Maldives, only one is not a turboprop airplane, an 18-year-old Airbus A320 operated by Maldivian just for these international services from the Maldives beyond.
Have you ever had the opportunity to be on a short island hop flight in any archipelago? How was the experience? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment!
Featured image: The delivery flight of the first Maldivan ATR. Photo: ATR Aircraft.