Most travellers in the Maldives are far more likely to use the services of the two charter seaplane companies, Trans Maldiv-ian (§ 3312444; and Maldivian Air Taxi (§§ 3315201;, both of which fly tourists from the seaplane port next to Male' International Airport to resorts throughout the country. Both companies fly 18-seater DeHavilland Twin Otter seaplanes under contract to resorts throughout the Maldives.

All seaplane transfers are made during daylight hours, and offer an amazing perspective on the atolls, islands, reefs and lagoons. The cost is between US$140 and US$350 return, depending on the distance and the deal between the resorts, and it's generally included in the package price. If there is an option of a boat transfer, or you are an FIT, the seaplane will be charged as an extra.

Charter flights for sightseeing, photography and emergency evacuation can be arranged. Call both companies for rates and availability. Note that cargo capacity on the seaplanes is limited. All passengers and baggage are weighed before loading, and some heavy items may have to wait for a later flight or be transferred by boat.

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