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Private equity giant Blackstone has acquired a controlling interest in two Maldives-based seaplane operators for an undisclosed sum.

Together the two airlines will operate 44 seaplanes and conduct more than 100,000 flights a year making them the world’s largest operator of Twin Otter aircraft.

Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian Airways connect resort islands with Hulhule international airport. Both are based on the Hulhule airport island and together employ more than 900 people.

Blackstone’s Private Equity senior managing director and chief investment officer Prakash Melwani said: “Maldives is a unique and highly desirable holiday destination. Our investment in MAT and TMA will enable us to build a strong partnership with the Maldives.

“We have been impressed by the quality of the management teams of both companies and the sophistication of their operations.

“We are excited to partner with MAT and TMA, whose seaplane operations have contributed significantly to the development of resort islands further away from Male and making them accessible to tourists.

“Blackstone manages, through its portfolio companies, the largest number of hotel rooms in the world and this transaction marks our sustained enthusiasm for the travel and tourism space.”

TMA chairman Lars Petré said: “We have partnered with Blackstone, one of the leading private equity firms in the world, to help take our business and tourism in the Maldives to the next level. The Maldivian economy will gain from the presence of one of the world’s largest and most respected investment firms.”

MAT chairman Lars Nielsen said: “With their strong network and operational focus, Blackstone will contribute significant value to the venture. This will be beneficial to the employees and enhance their career growth. \

“In addition, together we look forward to delivering more efficient services to the tourists coming to the Maldives and the resorts in which they are staying. This combination will increase service efficiency to o