AIR SEYCHELLES LAUNCHES ‘VIP’ SERVICES
(Posted 28th October 2013)
‘Air Seychelles VIP’ was launched last Thursday evening at the international airport by the airline’s CEO Cramer Ball, who officially inaugurated the new service to the applause of invited dignitaries, government officials and members of the business community. Present was the Seychelles Vice President Danny Faure, former president Sir James Mancham, the Chairman of the airline’s Board of Directors Joel Morgan who is also the Minister for Internal Affairs and Transport and representatives of Royal Jet Services in Dubai.
The service has already been operating since July this year, according to information received while in the Seychelles, but was only now formally launched after new facilities were created at the airport’s VIP area, where normally government officials are received. The new ‘Air Seychelles VIP’ lounge, separate from the business and first class long in the main terminal, can cater for as many as 50 passengers at a time, in near total privacy as the facility is a distance away from the main terminal buildings and allows for direct access to a private jet, a mode of transport increasingly often used by wealthy individuals who come to the archipelago to sail the seas or relax in some of the world’s best – and most expensive – resorts.
Said Cramer Ball on the occasion of the launch: ‘This is more than just an opening. Air Seychelles VIP will permit operations for private jets with twenty four hours and seven days a week all round service which will include catering, communication, entertainment, engineering, refueling, customs, immigration, etc. in the comfort of a high quality luxury lounge. With this five-star service, we are also targeting twenty percent growth in private jets movement in Seychelles. This represents great business for Seychelles. The Seychelles’ economy is to benefit from another important source of revenue as some operators will only go to destinations with an airside FBO. The fact that it is airside contributes greatly to privacy and security. This FBO [aviation language for Fixed Base Operator] is one of the few airside FBO’s in the world and it will definitely put Seychelles on the world map as a luxury travel market’.
Air Seychelles has been emerging from the financial doldrums over the past 1 ½ years since Etihad acquired a 40 percent stake and seconded a top management team to the national airline of the Seychelles, which has since then streamlined its operation by operating flights to the Etihad hub in Abu Dhabi and from there using code share arrangements with Etihad and a number of Etihad partner airlines like Air Berlin, among several others, to reach destinations in Europe way beyond the erstwhile served London, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan and Rome, when the ‘old’ Air Seychelles was flying the Creole Spirit into the wide world. Notably though is Air Seychelles now serving Hong Kong directly via Abu Dhabi, with Etihad code sharing on an HM operated service, while continuing to fly several times a week to Mauritius and Johannesburg.
Air Seychelles has been a major corporate sponsor of the ongoing Festival Kreol, providing air tickets for a number of journalists flying to Mahe from Europe, Asia and Africa, a gesture repeatedly highlighted by the Minister of Tourism and Culture Alain St. Ange during several key events of the festival programme. Watch this space for breaking and regular news from the Indian Ocean’s aviation industry.