MAIA, an acronym for Mercator Advanced Imager for Asteroseismology, is a three-channel instrument that targets fast-cadence three-colour photometry, installed at the 1.2-m Mercator telescope at the Roque de los Muchachos at La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain). This instrument observes a 9.4 × 14.1 arcmin2 field-of-view simultaneously in three wavelength bands on three large frame-transfer CCDs. These detectors were developed for ESA's cancelled Eddington space mission and were offered on permanent loan to the Institute of Astronomy (KU Leuven, Belgium). MAIA uses its own ugr photometric system that is a crude approximation of the SDSS system. The instrument is designed to perform multi-colour observations for asteroseismology, with specific emphasis on subdwarf and white dwarf single and binary stars. We describe the design of the instrument, discuss key components, and report on its performance and first results.