Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has announced the launch of direct flights to Mumbai, India’s financial, commercial and entertainment capital. This is the third new route announcement from the Indian Ocean carrier in less than a month nad follows confirmation of new routes to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Antananarivo in Madagascar.
Subject to regulatory approvals, the new three times per week service between Mahé and Mumbai will be launched from December 2, 2015 and will be operated by a two-class Airbus A320 aircraft, configured with 16 Business Class and 120 Economy Class seats.
The same aircraft will be used to introduce the twice weekly link to Antananarivo from December 3, 2015 and the previously reported route to Dar es Salaam. The new services bring the number of regional destinations served by the airline to five, adding to existing flights to Johannesburg and Mauritius.
“We are thrilled to launch flights to Mumbai. As one of the largest, fastest-growing, and most exciting travel markets in the world, India represents a considerable opportunity for Air Seychelles, said Manoj Papa, chief executive officer, Air Seychelles. “Our new Mumbai schedule has been purposely designed to offer business and leisure travellers from India convenient and direct access to the Seychelles islands, one of the world’s most prestigious holiday destinations."
Mumbai is the largest city in India and the capital of Maharashtra state. Renowned as a cosmopolitan metropolis, the city is home to Bollywood, and in 2013, was ranked seventh in the world by Forbes magazine as a billionaire city.
“Seychelles is an increasingly attractive market for international investors, with many ambitious tourism, property and infrastructure developments planned over the coming years. Bringing Mumbai into our growing organic network is also a direct result of our strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, and how together, we have worked to increase travel options for the benefit of our combined customers, whilst benefiting trade and tourism at each end," added Papa.
In addition to supporting Air Seychelles’ expansion into key destinations across the Indian Ocean region, for the Seychelles in particular, both airlines have now put in place the necessary tools and infrastructure to encourage more trade and tourism traffic to the archipelago in the years ahead through Etihad's global partners.
This will mean that alongside the point-to-point demand the Air Seychelles early morning arrivals and departures in Mumbai will allow passengers travelling in either direction to enjoy seamless connections between Mumbai and a large number of cities throughout India, including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kochi through the operations of Jet Airways.
The potential for the new route is huge with more than 42 million international travellers reported out of India last year, and an Indian diaspora of over 2.3 million in the Indian Ocean and Southern and Eastern Africa. "I am confident the flights will boost travel and trade between the Seychelles and India, strengthen government and cultural exchanges, and be warmly welcomed by the significant Indian community living and working in the Seychelles, as well as by the substantial Seychellois community who can trace their heritage to India,” said Joël Morgan, Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs and Transport and Air Seychelles Board Chairman.