Villa Air has announced that they have been officially requesting to allocate a plot for them in seaplane terminal, and Maldives Airport Company Limited (MACL) has not given an answer but leased a plot to Manta Air later on.
Managing Director Abdulla Nasheed has stated that they have been sending letters requesting a plot in Hulhule’ terminal, but they still have not received any answer. He has also highlighted that the seaplane terminal was planned to open for opportunities for the local airlines and MACL not allowing a local airline a plot in the terminal is not acceptable.
Villa Air entered the airline industry in 2011, and request for a plot in the terminal in 14th February of 2013. Villa Air requested for a plot of 4,500 square metres from the airport island Hulhule’s east coast, to be leased to the company at the standard market rate.
At the time both Trans Maldives Airways (TMA) and Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT) operated in the Hulhule’ terminal and later in 2013 both the companies merged.
To enter the market, Villa Air even bought a seaplane and it was kept in Maamigili airport and later on, was sold to a foreign company. They have reported that they have incurred a loss of USD 4.2 million as they had to sell the plane.
Villa Air has stated that the issue here is not they lease to Manta Air, but that they didn’t lease to them and didn’t even provide an explanation or reason as to why they didn’t.
In a meeting held in the parliamentary Finance committee to discuss MACL’s contentious deal to hand over the majority of the new seaplane terminal to TMA, it was brought up that MACL’s board members have been biased towards certain airlines.