New airline in the making in the Seychelles

SEYCHELLES AIRLINES FORMALLY APPLIES FOR LICENCES

(Posted 28th June 2014)

According to information received from a reliable aviation source on Mahe will new wings spread from the archipelago once new applicant for an air service license, Seychelles Airlines, has received the relevant permits and clearances.

It is understood that the process was formally started by Intershore Aviation Limited, the limited liability company under which the brand Seychelles Airlines will operate, which a week ago lodged the relevant documents with the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority.

All eyes are now on the SCAA and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport to see how expeditiously the application for an air services license is processed before the company can then bring in their first aircraft, supposed to be a B767-300ER in a two class configuration of business and economy class, and start the audit process before obtaining an air operator certificate.

While it could not be established if added processes are required vis a vis traffic rights out of the Seychelles and from the proposed destinations the new airline intends to fly to it is likely that the new kid on the block, once fully licensed and cleared for flight status, will also require SCAA designation for certain routes, especially if the flights are to be operated as scheduled services and not as charter flights.

The venture was already discussed when last in the Seychelles with key members of the private sector, who, while supportive of their national airline, were keen to see a new venture take off to add much needed extra seats on nonstop flights from key European source markets like France and Italy without having to travel through a waypoint as is currently the case, which costs added time to reach the archipelago and increases the risk of delays.

It is understood that in fact the support from a wide range of businesses among the Seychelles based tourism sector was a key to driving the project ahead, with one regular source commenting: ‘The time is now right for a second airline to fly from and to Seychelles. There are gaps in our connectivity which the national airline apparently cannot fill due to their ties with Etihad. That link requires all northbound and eastbound flights to fly via Abu Dhabi. This may be instrumental for the financial recovery of Air Seychelles but it does not match the expectations of tourism operators in Europe or here. Many of our important partners have time and again said they would prefer a nonstop flight to Mahe, we also have said that but the logistics at the national airline dictate otherwise. So it is time to look at new options and Seychelles Airlines has told us they intend to fly nonstop to Paris and at least two other European destinations. This will be a boost for our hotels because more clients means higher occupancies. If they can get their fare structure sorted out it should open new markets for Seychelles and not just cut into the market share of the airlines already coming here. The big question is and I think we discussed this in April, how expeditious the license application will be processed and that no conflict of interest comes into play to the disadvantage of the new airline and in favour of the national airline. We will be watching this closely’.

Chief Executive of the new airline is one Mr. Ahmed Afif and efforts are underway to have him comment directly to eTN on plans for the new airline, once it has become operational.

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

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