Soneva Gears up to Launch Private Seaplane in Maldives

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The DHC-6 Twin Otter, which normally seats 19, has been overhauled by the IKHANA Group in Canada, custom-painted with Soneva’s branding in a rich purple on the exterior, and outfitted with new chrome and purple leather interiors.

With interior panels designed to provide a smoother, cleaner look than the typical commuter aircraft interior, the aircraft has been customized to meet Soneva’s luxury brand standards. The seats have been reupholstered using Elmosoft leather in Soneva purple with a floor covering that mimics slate. The aircraft has 10 VIP seats (eight front-facing and two rear-facing), with two additional fold-down seats and two pilot seats. There are also signature Soneva design touches on-board, such as handcrafted lighting.

Twin Otter planes have short take-off and landing (STOL) abilities, which makes them ideal float planes as they lift off the water faster. DHC-6 Twin Otters have an average range of 886 miles, a top speed of 184 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 173 miles per hour and a wingspan of 66 feet.

This model of aircraft’s fixed tricycle undercarriage, safety record, twin turboprop engines and high climb rate have made it a successful commuter passenger airliner as well as a cargo and medevac aircraft. The Twin Otter has been popular with commercial skydiving operations and is used by the US Army Parachute Team and the US Air Force’s 98th Flying Training Squadron.

before landing in the Maldives, Soneva's plane is currently en route from Canada across Greenland to Iceland in one hop, then through Europe and the Middle East.

The new plane, which will be in operation by mid-December, will transport Soneva guests roundtrip from Velana International Airport to Soneva Fushi in Baa Atoll and Soneva Jani in the Noonu Atoll. The cost of the roundtrip seaplane transfer will be USD 1,100 return from Male to Soneva Fushi or Soneva Jani.

Established in 1995, Soneva Fushi is the original Soneva. The No News, No Shoes blueprint for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways is located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. Soneva Fushi inspires the imagination with 65 spacious beachfront villas, ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms, hidden amongst dense foliage.

The iconic resort has bagged several international awards for eco-friendly tourism and green initiatives, including the 2017 Green Hotelier Award for the Asia Pacific region and the Sustainable Hotel Award by the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) as well as a spot in the Gold List compiled by Condé Nast Traveler China as the Best Hotel in the Maldives and amongst the best resorts in the world in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2017.