‘PRASLIN‘ JOINS AIR SEYCHELLES’ TWIN OTTER FLEET
(Posted 17th March 2017)
Air Seychelles earlier today welcomed the first of the two brand new Twin Otter DHC-6 400 aircraft into the Air Seychelles domestic fleet.
Named Praslin after the second-largest island in Seychelles, the aircraft was welcomed by a delegation of government, tourism and airline officials which included the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Maurice Loustau-Lalanne.
On the occasion, Air Seychelles also held a ceremony where five First Officer pilots in its domestic operations were promoted to the rank of Captain, including Christopher Mousbe, Michael Afif, Andy Benoit, Gavin Hermitte and Balaji Naidoo.
Jean Weeling-Lee, the Chairman of Air Seychelles, said during the welcoming ceremony at the international airport: ‘Seeing Praslin touch down this morning, and our young pilots receive their commanders bars, made me feel very proud of our national airline. Twin Otter aircraft have been an iconic sight in our skies for decades, and it’s great to see the latest generation enter our fleet, not to mention the development of the dedicated, professional pilots who will be flying them‘.
‘Praslin‘, registered as S7-PRN is set to replace an older Twin Otter aircraft and will be joined later by a second new DHC-6 400 turboprop called ‘Farquhar‘. The arrival of two new Twin Otter’s will also mean that the oldest of the airline’s island-hopping planes in the fleet will now only be 5 years old.
‘The arrival of our new Twin Otter aircraft will allow us to increase our number of flights by a further 12 per cent, providing more connectivity and convenience for residents and international holidaymakers in Seychelles. Over the past 12 months we have taken many steps to enhance the experience on our domestic flights, from the increase of the number of weekly flights offered to over 300, for example on a Friday we would be operating over 60 flights, launching of web check-in to making purchase of tickets for residents more convenient, this is the next step on that journey. Twin Otter aircraft are ideal and extremely reliable for the tropical environment of Seychelles. We believe that Praslin and Farquhar aircraft will serve the business and guests of Air Seychelles well for many years to come. At the same time we have put a lot of effort into creating a very strong pilot development programme which sees a career path for Seychellois nationals progressing through First Officer to Captains on the Twin Otter aircraft and then onwards onto the Airbus Jet fleet. I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate our five pilots here today on moving up to the rank of Captain, which is a testament to their skill and training‘ added the Air Seychelles’ CEO Roy Kinnear.
(The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Mr. Maurice Loustau-Lalanne was joined by Air Seychelles CEO Mr. Roy Kinnear when receiving the new aircraft and promoting the five new captains)
Captain Gavin Hermitte, 29, was one of the first officers promoted this morning. Hailing from Morne Blanc, he completed his secondary school studies at Anse Boileau in 2004 before taking up a course in mechanical and electrical engineering at the Seychelles Polytechnic. He started pilot training in South Africa at the Westline Aviation in 2013 and gained his commercial pilot license at the end of that year.
Captain Hermitte said: ‘I feel a great sense of achievement at gaining the rank of Captain – it’s a goal I have worked hard towards ever since starting my career at Air Seychelles. Aviation has fascinated me from a very young age as I wanted to follow in the footsteps of one of my cousins, who was also a pilot. It’s a privilege to work at Air Seychelles and the next step for me is to continue recording more flight hours to move onto bigger aircraft in the future‘.
Both Twin Otter aircraft will enter operation before the end of March in time for the busy Easter Season.
On average, Air Seychelles flies more than 40 times between Mahé and Praslin each day, with carefully-scheduled morning and evening services that connect seamlessly to international flights, both arriving and departing from Seychelles International Airport.
In addition, the airline offers charter flights to other islands in the archipelago on its Twin Otter fleet, including Desroches, Bird and Denis, providing travellers with the opportunity to explore lesser-known reaches of the archipelago.
The next new long haul destination will be Duesseldorf in Germany which will be served twice a week by an Airbus A330 aircraft, undoubtedly bringing record numbers of German holiday makers to the archipelago.
In a related development did a total of 15 Seychellois cabin crew graduate with flying colors after receiving state-of –the –art training on Airbus A330 & A320 aircraft types in Abu Dhabi at the Etihad Aviation Academy. The new graduates were personally congratulated at the event by Francisca Moonsammy, Head of Cabin Operations, Joel De Commarmond, Human Resources Manager and Performance Manager Nella Samson. During their six weeks of extensive training, they covered topics such as Safety, Emergency procedures, Service, Dangerous good, Aviation health and Aviation Security.
Upon their return to Seychelles, the newly graduated Cabin crew will undergo further elements of training and knowledge transfer. They will then complete their familiarization flights on both aircraft types and thereafter operate as part of the Air Seychelles cabin crew teams.
‘This is the second batch of new Cabin Crew that has graduated in the past couple of weeks and we are extremely proud of them. We feel their excitement and eagerness to commence their day to day duties onboard our jet fleet. We wish them well as they embark on this new journey to represent Air Seychelles – the Leading Airline in the Indian Ocean‘ said Francisca Moonsammy, Head of Cabin Operations.
Air Seychelles new Cabin Crew graduates are:
- Accouche Mecthilde Cybil Orelie
- Albert Julia Marie
- Barbe Nelly Hilary
- Camille Demi Emily Anita
- Course Tara
- Dookley Stephanie Laura
- Lajoie Aaron Joseph Philip
- Loze Jules Angelin
- Padayachy Emmie Daphney Stephanie
- Pierre Yannick Kervin
- Radegonde Cathriona nelly Willyna
- Rose Lisa Dianne Noella
- Vel Laurent Kevin
- Maria Kiera Marchia
- Ryan Marguerite (Remarkable Trainee)
For added information about Destination Seychelles click on www.seychelles.travel