The growing number of surfers traveling to Southern Maldives are faced with challenges ranging from getting domestic flights with steady flight schedules and assurance on their surf gear and luggage delivered on time during arrival and departure. How can the industry overcome this obstacle? Will it be sorted when the new ATR aircrafts are added to the Maldivian fleet?

PUBLISHED January 04, 2023

Ahmed Ibrahim
Noo Rani Travels
The new ATRs will certainly increase available seats. It will only provide a solution to surfers, anglers and divers only if Maldivian is able to increase the cargo space available.
I don't think adding ATR aircrafts to the Maldivian fleet will solve it necessarily, its the same for Surfers and Divers combined right. The issue would not solve unless Maldivian commits to have a certain number of minimum flights on a daily basis depending on the season it's operated in and sticking to that schedule strictly, and increasing the number of flight operated to Deep South especially depending on the demand they get during the season It's not that difficult for them to figure out from us how many boats will be in the deep south during certain periods and the type of trips we will be conducting and the total load the boats will carry, offering the boats some kind of guaranteed contract of plane operation like TMA has with resorts. While I think Manta and Flyme should start flying, for Maldivian to start doing things better.
I believe that the liveaboard market has always been left out from the authorities. Starting from bank, LGA, Councils and Domestic Airlines. We all understood and understood there were lots of promises done. But just a simple example, domestic flight booking. They get the confirmation in very last minutes after filling the resorts required commitment (highly subsidized from the government ) airfare is 60 -65%higher than the resorts or guesthouses). Going more, Yes market is developed and invested by local entrepreneurs. I understand there are more than 1700 beds in the market on Liveaboards which is the size of average 10 resorts. GST -TGST green tax import duty , transport relevant taxes , anchoring fee are also being paid without any concession.
I believe that we should have a dedicated service with appropriate aircrafts that are designed and suitable for the kind of tourists, especially the surfers experiencing and enjoying the southern Maldives. This will help tourism in Southern Maldives grow in multiple ways and in many folds!
1. The addition of new ATR Aircrafts will definitely help ease the issue. 2. The increase of traffic to the destinations will, by itself, result in more flights, thereby offering more options. 3. Excellent surfing times are also known beforehand and heavily promoted. This is why top class surfers arrive during pre-determined dates. Prior planning and industry collaboration can certainly offer better solutions for these specific times.