Blackstone acquires majority stake in 2 Maldivian seaplane operators

A private equity fund managed by Blackstone has acquired a controlling interest in two Maldives-based seaplane operators – Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT) and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA).

As part of the deal, MAT founder Lars Erik Nielsen and the two majority shareholders of TMA, Lars Petré and Hussain Afeef, will retain a substantial shareholding and continue to play a significant role in the companies, including serving as directors on the board, Blackstone said. 

Blackstone, however, did not disclose terms of the transaction.

TMA is the oldest air services operator in the Maldives operating over 20 seaplanes. Maldivian Air Taxi has grown to become the biggest seaplane operator in the world with 24 seaplanes.

Together the two airlines will operate 44 seaplanes and conduct well over 100,000 flights per year making them the world's largest Twin Otter operator on land or sea.

MAT and TMA connect resort islands with the Hulhule International airport. Both airlines are based on the Hulhule Airport Island in Maldives and together employ over 900 people.

''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.