Your Maldives Resort Transfer Could Get Cheaper Thanks to This New Airline

Mar 1, 2019

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If the Maldives are on your bucket list, there’s a new airline to help you island hop.

Manta Air opened for business this week after securing its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the Maldivian Civil Aviation Authority (MCAA) and the hope is that a little competition will bring down the prices for that “last hop” to paradise.

For now, the airline has two ATR72-600 aircraft leased from Nordic Aviation Capital, flying between Malé (MLE) and Kudahuvadhoo (DDD) four times a day. Soon, it will take delivery of two DHC-6-300 seaplanes, and it hopes to expand its route network to include Dharavandhoo (DRV) in Baa Atoll and Thimarafushi (TMF) in Thaa Atoll.

AvGeeks will appreciate that Manta Air has tweaked the cabin layout in its ATR72-600s to give passengers extra legroom. Passengers can book two classes of travel. Comfort offers 32 inches of legroom, while Sapphire offers a seat pitch of 36 inches.

This pool villa at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa was a free upgrade on TPG staffer Darren Murph’s award stay, thanks to gis top-tier Hyatt status. (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

The Maldives tops the list of aspirational locales for many travelers, and for good reason. Resorts like Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and the upcoming Waldorf Astoria Maldives Itaafushi offer otherworldly experiences that are worth the effort when it comes to pooling points and miles to book a stay.

manta air mle airport arrival atr72-600
Manta Air’s ATR 72-600, now servicing the Maldives (Photo courtesy of Manta Air)

One potential problem in paradise is the transfer. Most Maldivian resorts require another hop after you’ve arrived at Velana International Airport (MLE), the primary international gateway to the archipelago. These transfers can cost upwards of $500 to $1,000 per person on a round-trip basis, and outside of creative solutions such as Capital One’s Purchase Eraser, there’s no tried-and-true way to avoid that cost.

Manta Air’s website is pricing round-trip jaunts between Malé (MLE) and Kudahuvadhoo (DDD) at around $390 per person. The hope is that another airline joining Flyme, Maldivian and Trans Maldivian Airways will create competition and pricing pressure to bring down the exorbitant last-hop cost when visiting one of the most spectacular destinations on Earth.

Be sure to check out our guide covering the best ways to get to the Maldives on points and miles.

Featured image courtesy of Manta Air.

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