Maldivian Wants To Acquire A Boeing 787, Or Something

Maldivian Wants To Acquire A Boeing 787, Or Something

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It looks like Maldivian just has too much money, and wants to light some of it on fire. At least that’s the best realistic theory I can come up with to explain this…

Maldivian wants to dry lease a Boeing 787

Maldivian is a government-owned, regional carrier based in the Maldives (you guessed it!). The airline operates a fleet of nearly two dozen aircraft, most of which are turboprops, though also currently has a single Airbus A320. The carrier primarily operates flights within the Maldives (not to be confused with Trans Maldivian, the world’s largest seaplane operator), though also operates short haul international flights to Bangladesh and India.

Well, Maldivian has big expansion plans, at the request of the country’s president. He reportedly wants the national carrier to acquire two wide body jets, in order to fly to China and Europe.

On January 9, 2024, the airline posted publicly, inviting all eligible parties to submit their proposal to provide one Boeing 787-8 aircraft to the airline on a dry lease basis for a period of six years. The airline has set a deadline of January 25, 2024, for interested parties to make proposals.

Prior to that, on December 31, 2023, the airline also posted publicly, inviting eligible parties to submit their proposal to provide one Airbus A330-200 aircraft to the airline on a dry lease basis, for a period of five years. That has a deadline of January 18, 2025.

In both cases, the company is seeking a plane on a dry lease basis, meaning it just wants the plane, and will provide its own crews.

That’s right, the airline wants to acquire two long haul jets, and doesn’t even want any commonality between the aircraft. This is beyond strange.

Now, we’ll see if this actually comes to fruition. Just because the airline is requesting bids doesn’t mean it will actually happen. Hopefully someone at Maldivian crunches some numbers and realizes this isn’t going to end well for the airline.

Maldivian wants to fly a wide body jet or two

Why does Maldivian want wide body aircraft?

As mentioned above, the president of the Maldives reportedly wants the national carrier to acquire wide body jets in order to fly to Europe and China. I can’t think of any circumstances where this makes sense.

Let me start by pointing out that the logistics of operating a subfleet of just one aircraft is incredibly challenging under the best of circumstances in terms of maintenance, crewing, scheduling, etc. That’s even trickier when we’re talking about a wide body jet.

The Maldives is also a leisure destination that’s seasonal, so finding long haul destinations to fly these aircraft to year-round in a profitable manner is no small task. I just can’t come up with any scenario where this would be an independently profitable venture.

Now, admittedly the airline is owned by the government, and over the years we’ve seen many governments expand airlines with new long haul service as a way to promote tourism and trade, or in some cases even for vanity.

The Maldives is lucky, as the country already has a ton of service and connectivity from foreign carriers, and it’s particularly well served from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. Capacity to the island nation just keeps growing.

Not only that, but we also recently saw the launch of Beond Airlines, a new all-business class airline, that hopes to fly dozens of planes to dozens of destinations around the globe from the Maldives (again, that’s still questionable, but the airline has launched, at least).

So the only real explanation I can come up with for Maldivian’s plans is that this is some sort of a vanity project. Is China somehow funding this airline (as the country has done for many projects in the Maldives), or…?

Beond Airlines recently launched Maldives flights

Bottom line

Small regional carrier Maldivian wants to acquire a Boeing 787, an Airbus A330, or both. The airline is looking to lease these planes for a period of five to six years, and would have its own crews fly the planes. While the airline has done okay with its one A320, acquiring wide body jets would be a way more extreme move, and is hard to rationalize.

I’m fascinated to see how this plays out…

What do you make of Maldivian’s plan to acquire a wide body aircraft (or two)?

Conversations (13)
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  1. Brianair Guest

    That would be one beautiful 787.

  2. Tao Guest

    To introduce the possibility of WFM?

  3. Indopithecus Guest

    There is a horrible and racist tirade by someone called STEFFL as a 'featured comment'. I am surprised that it got through Lucky's filters.

  4. Phillip Diamond

    I wouldn’t exactly call the Maldives a seasonal destination. Yes, it has a Northern Winter peak but it is a year round destination and they do well for it even in the wet Northern summer season.
    I would call the Greek Islands a seasonal destination, but not the Maldives.

  5. Christian Guest

    I'm pretty much with @tom. They want to try out some options and get some infrastructure going before buying a number of one specific plane type.

    @Ben - You keep using the word vanity. Vanity, on the level of a nation-state, becomes prestige. I think that might be a better fit.

  6. Sam Rao Guest

    Maybe they want more Chinese tourists.. Indians are starting to boycott them after derogatory comments by Maldives ministers towards Indian prime minister... a lot of India vs China politics in play.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-67942642

  7. Ross Guest

    Most of the Russian oligarchs who favor the Maldives arrive there in yachts, but maybe they want to charter a jumbo for a nonstop trip back to Moscow occasionally.

  8. InceptionCat Gold

    @Ben
    Speaking of Beond......Seems you missed the story. I think beond ain't doing so well.
    Instead of operating 9 flights from MUC in Jan they're now planning on operating just one. Then from ZRH 6 instead of the planned 9.
    Don't forget that this is the high season of tourists from Europe to the Maldives.

    There have been reports of just 1 or 2 passengers on their flights from MUC. Allow me...

    @Ben
    Speaking of Beond......Seems you missed the story. I think beond ain't doing so well.
    Instead of operating 9 flights from MUC in Jan they're now planning on operating just one. Then from ZRH 6 instead of the planned 9.
    Don't forget that this is the high season of tourists from Europe to the Maldives.

    There have been reports of just 1 or 2 passengers on their flights from MUC. Allow me to post the link (in German):
    https://www.aerotelegraph.com/beond-streicht-im-januar-fluege-ab-muenchen-und-zuerich

  9. tom Guest

    Clearly this is a trial to evaluate the A330 v 787 before putting in an order for 20+ Widebodies

  10. Derek Guest

    Geopolitics might explain this one a bit better. The Maldives have an icy relationship with India, since the Maldives are Muslim-majority and India is such a large neighbor. The Maldives are attempting to align themselves more closely with China to build some protection from India. There have been public spats recently between the Maldives and India that made it onto the New York Times earlier this week.

    Given the context, a brazen, low-substance move like...

    Geopolitics might explain this one a bit better. The Maldives have an icy relationship with India, since the Maldives are Muslim-majority and India is such a large neighbor. The Maldives are attempting to align themselves more closely with China to build some protection from India. There have been public spats recently between the Maldives and India that made it onto the New York Times earlier this week.

    Given the context, a brazen, low-substance move like this makes a bit more sense. The Maldives's state-owned airlines signal that they can be capable of nonstops to a friendly Chinese government and European tourists, without going through Indian airspace.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/08/world/asia/india-maldives-modi.html

    1. Sam Rao Guest

      Yes I made the similar comment. They are also upset at India's relationship with Israel. Modi was promoting Lakshwadeep islands of India which are close to Maldives. If they actually develop these islands more Indians would visit instead of Maldives.

    2. STEFFL Gold

      HALLELUJAH . . . that woukd be a blessing for all other Tourists on the Maldive Islands. I remember the days, when Mauritius, Fiji and even the Maldives in the early 90's were not seeing these Indian decent people and all of these islands were so much cleaner. It's a historic pain, having Indian people anywhere and getting used to there filthy way of dealing with everyday life.
      Hawaii will be next, i'm in...

      HALLELUJAH . . . that woukd be a blessing for all other Tourists on the Maldive Islands. I remember the days, when Mauritius, Fiji and even the Maldives in the early 90's were not seeing these Indian decent people and all of these islands were so much cleaner. It's a historic pain, having Indian people anywhere and getting used to there filthy way of dealing with everyday life.
      Hawaii will be next, i'm in shock to see the hordes of these Indians going there in the last 3 years. .... most shocking, is there way of dealing with waste and dirt, . . . just drop it seems to be there sheme, of a majority of these people, just like at home.
      Maldives woukd not miss them at all and i woukd not either!
      Maldives once was dominated by Italians and Germans, all they wanted, was natural Islands, no hordes of Indian families that mess things up even worse, then most Russian folks did with the mostly intact underwaterworld.
      Pretending they are certified Scuba Divers, but corals didn't mean anything to them!
      I had my pers. experience and they ALL shocked me to the bone.
      Any country getting uverrun by Indian National people, will pay badly for it later on! (mentioned islands above are the best example for it)

  11. Chuvash Guest

    Only destination (that’s not vanity) I can think of is Jeddah for Haj.

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Brianair Guest

That would be one beautiful 787.

0
Tao Guest

To introduce the possibility of WFM?

0
Indopithecus Guest

There is a horrible and racist tirade by someone called STEFFL as a 'featured comment'. I am surprised that it got through Lucky's filters.

0
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