“Embraer’s E190-E2 Profit Hunter demonstration airplane, with its distinctive shark livery, completed a demo flight at Velana International Airport this afternoon. Potential buyers and prominent airline officials from Maldivian, Flyme and Manta Air took part in the 1-hour demo flight.”
Maybe not a permanent fixture, but to fun to omit from the collection of sea creature inspired aviation in the maldives.
In many places, being “close to the airport” is seen as a negative. The new Mercure Maldives Kooddoo actually boast its aeronautical geography with its press releases announcing: “Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort is the first ever water villa resort built on an airport island in Maldives.”
Kooddoo is an airports like Heathrow with jumbo jets roaring in and rattling the rafters every 30 seconds. Instead it gets one or two flights a day from relatively small planes. The infrequency makes it more of an event than a disturbance (“De plane, de plane!” – Tatoo, Fantasy Island). On the positive side, it makes for an incredibly convenient outside-Kaafu transfer. For most distant resorts, you can either take a seaplane that will land at your resort but many consider very loud inside and too small and cramped for some people’s liking (not to mention expensive). Or you can take small jet planes to an increasing number of mini-airports around the country, but then you still have one more transfer by speedboat to finally get to your resort. At Kooddoo, you have the comfort and cost-savings of a conventional flight and when you touch down, you are just a short buggy ride to your villa.
The resort to celebration all things aviation is Equator Village. Not only set in the epicentre of Maldives aeronautics past and present, but itself originally an airbase. The villas themselves used to be officer quarters and the dining room the officer’s club. The classic post-war style is still in evidence and the property features a number of reminders of its high flying pedigree. RAF veterans still make regular pilgrimages for reunions to the resort. I especially enjoyed this nostalgic collection of videos taken of Gan way back before the tourism industry had brought foreign guests by the planeload.
National Aviation Day and National Photo Day today. Sooooo…photos of aviation are in order methinks. And the Maldives fashionistas are more than ready to oblige. 35 for each of the years RAF Gan operated as an airstrip…
What’s your ride getting dressed up as for Halloween? The prize for best seaplane costume definitely goes to FlyMe’s “SEEPLANE” had its maiden flight this week.
It is appropriately based at the epicentre of everything whale shark in Maldives near the bottom of the South Ari atoll, the Villa International Airport Maamigili. In fact, the whale shark marine sanctuary goes right by the airport.
The amphibian Cessna C208 holds up to 7 passengers (plus 2 pilots). It serves all the resorts in the area for 20 minute (or longer) privately booked and scheduled excursions with a minimum of 4 people.
Seaplanes have always been a distinctive way to experience the unique, other-worldly geography of the Maldives. And if you don’t spy a whale shark swimming below, you can always have a photo-op with this aeronautic imposter.