Owners of world's largest seaplane operator grappling with massive loans

Seaplane Terminal, Velana International Airport. (File Photo/Sun/Ahmed Awshan Ilyas)

Reuters news agency has reported that U.S. buyout firm Bain Capital, the owners of the world’s largest seaplane operator Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) is struggling to meet loans obtained for the acquisition of TMA worth USD 305 million.

The seaplane operator is in a difficult position due to the COVID-19 pandemic that effectively put a stop to its operations. Due to border closure of the Maldives, the airline’s operations which saw almost 2,000 travelers per day prior to the lockdown, ran into a complete standstill. 

However, business is starting up in a painstakingly slow pace after the country reopened its borders on July 15. The number of tourist arrivals to the Maldives has still not picked up effectively. 

Reuters reported that TMA’s sources of income had dried up due to the virus and Bain capital had been provided until the end of the month to settle the payments by lenders. 

Reuters stated that neither Bain nor TMA wished to comment on the situation. TMA had dismissed a number of employees as cost-cutting measures and even reduced the wages of employees currently employed by the company in the early stages of the virus.