Eventful week for Air Seychelles


(Posted 18th April 2014)

Air Seychelles celebrated two events this week, both important for the airline in several ways.

First were two pilots on the airline’s domestic network promoted to the rank of Captain, and it was none other than Manoj Papa, the company’s CEO, who handed the four strips to Julius Gabriel and Ashley Confait.

Both had been flying Twin Otter aircraft between the international airport on Mahe on the scheduled flights to Praslin and to many other islands on a charter basis every day.

Hailing from La Gogue, 26 year old Captain Julius Gabriel, completed his ‘A’ levels at the Seychelles Polytechnic at Anse Royale in 2007. He has also completed one year training as a commercial pilot at the 43rd Air School in South Africa under the auspices of a Government of Seychelles scholarship.

Captain Ashley Confait, also 26 years old, comes from Anse la Mouche, and completed his ‘A’ levels at the Seychelles Polytechnic in 2007 following by a stint at the Ministry of Education for two years before enrolling for training with the Seychelles Defense Forces. He later enrolled for his Commercial Pilot License and worked for the Islands development Company for two years as a Senior First Officer, before finally joining Air Seychelles in October 2012. Both pilots successfully completed their ‘Command Upgrade Programme’ and subsequently qualified for promotion.

This brings the number of Seychellois pilots flying as captains on the domestic routes to 16 with 12 Seychellois first officers also deployed on the interisland flights.

Mr. Manoj Papa was in a media release received yesterday quoted to have said: ‘Attaining the rank of Commander is a major achievement in a pilot’s career, particularly for pilots so young. The Commander’s bars symbolise, for all eyes and for all time, that its wearers have attained the highest degree of airmanship, and we congratulate Captain Gabriel and Captain Confait on their accomplishment’.

The other function was held at the Hilton Northolme Resort and Spa, where the airline hosted key staff from travel agencies and DMC’s to thank them for their support throughout the past year.

Air Seychelles’ Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Manoj Papa, presented awards to the top performers. Winning for top performing travel agent was Mason’s Air Travel, followed by Seashell Travel. Mason’s Travel also secured top performing DMC honours with 7 Degrees South clinching second place.

Mr. Papa said on the occasion of handing over the winner’s trophies: ‘Our success is your success and I am particularly grateful to for all your effort and hard work in 2013. I would like to personally thank each of you for your excellent cooperation and support and I look forward to the same dedication as we continue to develop new markets in the future’.

Mr. Papa went on to state that travel agents and tours operators will be the airline’s ambassadors for the new Air Seychelles product and service offering with equity partner Etihad Airways and codeshare partners before concluding: ‘I want to thank you again for your trust and belief in the national airline as it strives for excellence; we are indeed honoured and encouraged by your presence here today’.

Air Seychelles has recorded significant financial improvements over the past two years since partner Ethihad had acquired a 40 percent stake and seconded the top management team to the Seychelles national airline, with profits last year going from 1.1 million US Dollars to 3 million US Dollars for the just concluded financial year 2013/14.

With three brand new Twin Otter DHC 6-400 joining the fleet to replace similar but aged models on the domestic network, and a new Airbus A320 joining the airline’s fleet later this year to perform regional flights to among other destinations Mauritius, has Air Seychelles completed a remarkable turnaround in both financial and operational terms. 5 codeshare partners now ensure that the airline has a wider reach than ever before and in terms of passenger service quality has Skytrax awarded Air Seychelles the coveted 4 star rating, making it the most improved airline in the geographical region and the second in Africa.

Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from across the Indian Ocean islands.

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