Air Seychelles is to resurrect non-stop flights to Europe from this summer having previously ended services to the Continent to focus on connecting passengers via the Abu Dhabi International Airport hub of its equity partner Etihad Airways. The airline will offer a three times weekly link between Mahe and Paris Charles De Gaulle from July 1, 2015, using an Airbus A330-200, replacing the current twice weekly offering via the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Government of Seychelles has strongly endorsed the non-stop flights between Paris and Seychelles. “It was always part of the plan to return to Paris non-stop when the time was right,” said Joël Morgan, The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport and Chairman of Air Seychelles.
“This service will connect to one of Europe’s most popular and well positioned hubs, which will give a further boost to arrival numbers from this core market, thereby making an even bigger contribution to the national economy of Seychelles,” he added.
Alongside the long-haul network change, Air Seychelles will also dramatically increase weekly frequencies on its regional network from April 2015, a move that will enable it to direct resources to developing services in the Indian Subcontinent and East Asia, while still focusing on the key market of Europe.
“In order to deliver further benefits to travellers, the Paris service will be coupled with a considerable deepening of our regional network, which is designed to meet the demand for travel between East Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and the Middle East, connecting across our Seychelles hub. We are continuing to build flexibility and convenience into our regional network for business and leisure travellers,” said Manoj Papa, chief executive officer, Air Seychelles.
The regional network development strategy will see Air Seychelles substantially upgrade its Mauritius and Mumbai routes to a four rotations per week and operate an additional third weekly flight to Antananarivo, bringing an additional 21,000 regional return seats to Seychelles per year.
Including its current scheduled services to Dar es Salaam (two weekly flights) and Johannesburg (three weekly flights), this regional network enhancement will now see Air Seychelles offer 16 return services per week in the Indian Ocean region, up from 13 previously.
In addition, Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles will together offer a double daily service between Seychelles and Abu Dhabi, up from its current 13 flights per week. The double daily service will offer seamless connections onto the wider Etihad Airways’ network. Meanwhile, building on access to the China market, the three-per-week service between Seychelles and Hong Kong will be incorporated into a daily codeshare service operated by Etihad Airways.
“The Chinese market has enormous potential for the airline. It also has the potential to be a key economic stimulus for the economy of Seychelles, as the two recent flights with more than 500 Chinese tourists testified. We are generating interest in the Chinese market and responding to requests from several large tour operators for charter operations,” said Papa.
To support the deepening regional network, an important platform for the ongoing growth of Air Seychelles, the airline will obtain an Airbus A320 aircraft in April 2015. Maximising utilisation of its international fleet, one existing Airbus A330-200 in Air Seychelles’ livery will be operated in the interim by Etihad Airways from the end of April.