The national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, Air Seychelles has announced the latest stage of its regional network strategy with confirmation that it will link the Indian Ocean archipelago to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with a twice weekly service from December 2, 2014. The flight will be the only non-stop scheduled link between Seychelles and the East African country.
The Tanzanian capital becomes the third destination in Air Seychelles’ Indian Ocean and African network, after Mauritius and Johannesburg and the new route will be operated using a two-class Airbus A320 aircraft with 16 Business Class and 120 Economy Class seats.
“We continue to build strength and depth in our global network, and the addition of Dar es Salaam, one of Africa’s fastest-growing business and tourism destinations, will enhance traffic flows to the Seychelles and beyond, fulfilling our mandate to be a key economic enabler for the Seychelles, supporting tourism and trade,” said Manoj Papa, chief executive officer, Air Seychelles.
The new route will support Air Seychelles’ aim to improve regional connectivity as well as enhance commerce and leisure travel to the archipelago. “These flights will serve as an attractive travel proposition for business and leisure travellers in Tanzania, offering a direct link to our archipelago and convenient onward connections to Abu Dhabi and beyond, including the Indian Subcontinent,” added Papa.
Alongside meeting passenger demand, the A320 will also provide 7.2 tonnes of weekly belly-hold capacity to and from Tanzania, giving a further boost to trade opportunities. Air Seychelles expects the service to carry a mixture of electronics, machinery and pharmaceuticals into Dar es Salaam, with primarily perishable goods loaded for the return flight.
Under the stewardship with equity partner Etihad Airways, Air Seychelles has successfully turned around its business and through strong cooperation between trade, transport and tourism stakeholders has developed a joined-up strategy to maximise benefits to the country but also enhancing connectivity across the region.
“The direct link between the capital of Tanzania and the Seychelles underscores our ongoing commitment to serve the region,” said Joël Morgan, Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs and Transport and Board Chairman, Air Seychelles.
“We will offer a direct connection between two of world’s iconic and premier tourism destinations, linking the exquisite beauty of the Seychelles with the authentic wonders of Tanzania, a proposition that will have great appeal to travellers seeking the next great experience,” he added, opening the doors to tour operators to generate future joint packages between the two countries.
As the gateway to Tanzania, Dar es Salaam offers access to a variety of unique tourist attractions, such as the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken caldera in the world; Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free standing mountain in the world; the Serengeti National Park; the Selous Game Reserve, the largest in Africa; and Zanzibar, home to Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With only a small home market, Air Seychelles relies on inbound arrivals and over recent years as the arrangement with Etihad Airways has taken hold the carrier has helped boost visitor arrivals to archipelago. According to The National Bureau of Statistics, in 2013, visitor arrivals in Seychelles stood at a record 230,272, up 10.7 per cent on the previous year, a previous record performance.
To highlight the importance of the inbound market last year’s figure was over two and a half times the total population of the Seychelles and over five times the working population of the islands. The Central Bank of Seychelles estimates tourism earnings from these arrivals in 2013 reached $343.6 million, an eleven 11 per cent increase on the previous year.
In our analysis, below, we look in greater detail at annual scheduled O&D passenger arrivals and departures from Seychelles in 2012 and 2013 by airline operator. Through their equity partnership Air Seychelles and Etihad Airways held a 52.6 per cent share of traffic in 2013, up from 46.6 per cent the previous year. The biggest airline serving the archipelago is now Emirates Airline, which overtook Air Seychelles in terms of passenger demand in 2012 and subsequently boosted its traffic share to 31.0 per cent in 2013.