Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has formally confirmed it will relaunch flights to Paris after opening reservations for the new link. The carrier revealed in December 2013 that it planned to return to the French capital but had initially targeted a February 2014 resumption. However, delays with the regulatory process have resulted in the five month move to the right.
"I am delighted the French Civil Aviation Authorities have granted approval for our flights to Paris, which build on the already strong ties between our two countries,” said Joel Morgan, Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, and Chairman of Air Seychelles’ Board. “Air Seychelles’ return to Paris has been a key target of our long-term business strategy, and thanks to our equity partner, Etihad Airways, we have been able to launch the flights faster than may have been achieved otherwise.
From July 2, 2014, Air Seychelles will operate two return services per week between Seychelles and Paris Charles De Gaulle via Abu Dhabi with an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, configured with 18 flat-bed Business Class seats and 236 Economy seats. The new Paris service will complement the existing double-daily services to Paris Charles de Gaulle from its shareholder Etihad Airways.
The French capital was a key part of the Air Seychelles network prior to its equity partnership with United Arab Emirates (UAE) national carrier, Etihad Airways. The carrier operated up to six weekly flights to Paris Charles de Gaulle but ended its operation in February 2012. But, despite the suspension of its own services, Paris remains one of the top five O&D markets from the Indian Ocean Island.
Air Seychelles’ Abu Dhabi schedule offers one of the fastest routes for travel between Seychelles and major European destinations, and has built a solid position in this important historical market through a codeshare on the Etihad service to the French capital.
“Our return to Paris marks another milestone in Air Seychelles’ journey of growing its international operations by flying to and from key markets,” said Manoj Papa, chief executive officer, Air Seychelles. “France has deep cultural and historical ties with the Seychelles and these new flights will allow more travellers to visit our island nation both for business and for leisure.”
Air Seychelles has completed an impressive turnaround since Etihad Airways made its investment in the carrier and restructured its activities and has resulted in a second consecutive year of net profitability. For 2013 the carrier posted a net profit of $3 million for 2013, exceeding by 171 per cent its profit of US$1.1 million reported in 2012. Revenue increased by 107 per cent to $88.7 million (2012: $42.8 million). The airline’s passenger numbers on its international network increased 100 per cent to 195,857 (2012:97,576), while traffic on domestic services in 2013 increased nine per cent to 156,617 passengers.
“In just two years, we have rebuilt our national carrier, strengthened our partnership with Etihad Airways, and beyond delivering good results for the airline, we have helped grow Seychelles tourism in the process – one of our core objectives.Today Air Seychelles is a great symbol of our nation wherever our brightly-coloured aircraft are flown,” said Joël Morgan, Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs and Transport and Air Seychelles Board Chairman,
“To record a second successive year of profitability after the immense challenges of the past is an achievement of which we are all very proud. Our 2013 figures are a clear indication that we now have the right business model,” he added.
The impressive 2013 passenger traffic growth was aided by Air Seychelles’ acquisition of a second Airbus A330-200 aircraft in March. The same month the island carrier launched three weekly flights to Hong Kong, and increased frequencies to Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg and Mauritius, bringing its total international weekly services to 16, up 100 per cent. Johannesburg and Mauritius enjoyed an additional return service per week, connecting each destination three times a week respectively with the Seychelles. The airline’s Abu Dhabi services also increased from four to seven return flights per week.
Abu Dhabi was Air Seychelles’ busiest international route, with a total of 90,746 passengers carried between the archipelago and capital of the United Arab Emirates, a year-on-year increase of 178 per cent. Elsewhere, Air Seychelles saw record cargo volumes in 2013 thanks strong demand to and from France, Italy, Hong Kong and South Africa.