Maldivian (Q2, Malé) has finalised a deal with ATR - Avions de Transport Régional to buy two ATR42-600s. The two parties signed the firm agreement on February 20 at the Singapore Air Show. ATR first flagged the transaction in December 2023 but did not disclose the customer at the time.

Speaking to ch-aviation after the signing, Maldivian Managing Director Ibrahim Iyas said that the ATR type was well suited to short domestic sectors within the Maldives. The airline already operates two ATR72-600s and a single ATR42-600. In addition, in September 2023, Maldivian ordered two more ATR42s. This week's announcement will take the total ATR fleet at the carrier to seven, with all the aircraft expected to be delivered by the end of 2024.

"The order is a demonstration of the relevance of family and commonality," Iyas said, adding that the ATRs will replace the airline's De Havilland Aircraft of Canada types, which include one DHC-8-200, one DHC-8-Q200, and seven DHC-8-Q300s. Iyas said ATR manufactured the only aircraft on the market that meets Maldivian's current specifications, which include the ability to efficiently operate sectors of 45-60 minutes.

Separately, the Maldives' Minister of Transport, Mohamed Ameen, told ch-aviation on the sidelines of the air show that the country was about to embark on a massive airport-building programme. Currently, Maldivian connects 17 airports in the archipelago. However, the government intends to build another 15 airports within five years. He said the government intended to announce construction timelines for the first six airports in the next 45 days. Each airport will cost between USD10-12 million and include a 1,300-metre sealed runway capable of handling any ATR type with a full payload. The recently elected government intends to make the most of its five-year term, the minister said, which includes aviation infrastructure improvements that will benefit local residents, tourists, and the broader economy.