Maldivian, the state-owned national carrier of the Maldives, has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a single widebody Airbus A330-200. According to the RFP, the carrier is seeking the aircraft on a dry lease basis for a period of five years.
Once acquired, the aircraft would be the company’s first widebody aircraft, enabling the airline to launch long-haul intercontinental flights for the first time.
The RFP comes on the back of the recent decision by the president of the Maldives, Mohammed Muizz, to source a pair of widebody aircraft for future long-haul operations to destinations in Europe and China.
The RFP states that any aircraft being proposed should be configured in a two-class layout, with seating for 235 passengers or more, including a minimum of 20 business class seats.
The airline, based at Male’s Velana International Airport on the main island in the Maldives archipelago, also states a preference for aircraft equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity, which is certified for 180-minute ETOPS operations, and which has a maximum take-off weight of no less than 230 tonnes, due to the Maldivian climate and payload/range requirements.
According to the RFP, the carrier will consider aircraft with either Rolls-Royce Trent 700 or General Electric CF6 engines. The aircraft must be delivered fresh from a C Check, and there must be no planned major maintenance events for at least the next 24 months, 9,000 flight hours, or 5,000 flight cycles, whichever is the more limiting factor.
While Maldivian does not outline the preferred age, hours, or cycles of the airframe in the RFP, it will give preference to newer aircraft, according to the president. While the initial lease term is tentatively stated as five years, Maldivian is prepared to accept other offers. The carrier further states that it will prefer lessors who can provide a spare engine at no additional cost.
The lessor should also be able to provide training for pilots, cabin crew, maintenance, and ground handling staff at its own expense. The RFP calls for bids to be lodged with the carrier by January 22, 2024, and Maldivian plans to select the lessor by February 10, 2024.
According to the ch-aviation database, the airline’s current fleet comprises a single Airbus A320-200, one ATR42-600, two ATR72-600s, twelve De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter floatplanes, one De Havilland Dash 8-200, and seven Dash 8-300s.
Although the foray into long-haul operations will be a first for Maldivian in its current guise, its predecessor, Air Maldives, operated a single leased Airbus A310-300 in the late 1990s. This was itself an attempt to break into long-haul operations, but with little success, contributing to the ultimate closure of the carrier.