New BASA for Mauritius and Seychelles

MAURITIUS SIGNS NEW BILATERAL AIR SERVICE AGREEMENT WITH SEYCHELLES

(Posted 07th November 2014)

The two Indian Ocean island countries of Mauritius and Seychelles have signed an updated bilateral air services agreement substituting the previous BASA which was in place since 1997 and no longer served the aviation interests of the two parties.

Under the new deal will code shared flights between designated airlines of both countries become possible as presently only Air Seychelles operates on the route between Mahe and Mauritius using an Airbus A320.

Air Mauritius has raised the prospect of commencing flights to Mahe sometime next year though no dates were given nor the planned number of frequencies. The newly signed agreement permits for up to 8 frequencies per week of which only three are presently utilized.

Traffic between the two islands is presently limited, with less than 8.000 Seychellois flying to Mauritius last year while only about 3.300 Mauritians visited the Seychelles and few tourists using the flights due to the added cost involved. Said a Victoria based source when asked to comment, on condition of anonymity over the sensitive nature of aviation issues on the island: ‘The cost of air tickets, when purchased on its own, is not conducive to pull larger numbers of passengers to the route. Tourists in particular will find it too expensive. Reunion’s Air Austral has launched an air pass in conjunction with long haul tickets which allows to fly at very low fares across the Vanilla Islands. Unless there is a similar deal offered by Air Mauritius or Air Seychelles will twin centre holidays or island hopping remain restricted to a limited market segment’.

The Vanilla Island organization, which presidency Mauritius will assume shortly, has been at the forefront to promote multi island visits and officials have cited limited air connections as a major constraint to accomplish that, apart from the present cost involved, unless using Air Austral’s air pass which however is only available to their own long haul passengers.

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