DURBAN FLIGHTS LAUNCHED WITH BIG FANFARE
(Posted 30th March 2017)
Air Seychelles, an Etihad partner airline, has earlier today launched their long awaited flights between Mahe and Durban, the airline’s second destination in South Africa.
The twice a week nonstop flights, every Thursday and Saturday, are operated with an Airbus A320, offering 16 business class and 120 economy class seats and provides Kwa Zulu Natal with direct access to the Seychelles without having to travel through Johannesburg.
The inaugural service landed at King Shaka International Airport this afternoon at 12.50 pm local time, where guests were greeted by a troupe of traditional Zulu dancers and a group of government, airport and tourism and trade representatives headed by Mr Sibusiso Myeza, Acting Head of Department of KwaZulu-Natal for Economic Development, Tourism and Developmental Affairs.
Onboard the flight was a delegation headed by Mr. Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, the Seychelles Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine; Alan Renaud, General Manager of Aero-Political, Alliances and Public Affairs at Air Seychelles and Jenifer Sinon, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne said: ‘South Africa and Seychelles have a strong relationship built on common values and shared respect, which will deepen with the introduction of Air Seychelles flights to Durban. Enhancing air access is critical for the continued growth of the Seychelles economy and as such we are pleased our national airline is developing its presence in South Africa‘.
Jean Weeling-Lee, Chairman of Air Seychelles in turn added: ‘We are delighted to introduce our second route to South Africa with the launch of services to Durban. Opening this new air bridge will facilitate air travel between South Africa and Seychelles, enabling Air Seychelles to make an even larger contribution to the growth of tourism, the largest driver of our island economy‘.
Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and has a catchment area of three and half million people and is home to the busiest port in Africa. The city it is a major manufacturing hub and a tourism centre.
Roy Kinnear, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles also added his voice when he stated: ‘With its subtropical climate, warm culture and booming economy, Durban is a city that is quickly growing in appeal for business and leisure travellers. Our new service will provide 544 seats to and from Seychelles each week, enabling Air Seychelles to carry more travellers to Seychelles and beyond to the popular destinations we serve in our international network, including Mumbai and Dusseldorf. We look forward to welcoming guests from Durban onboard our flights and are confident this route will play an important role as we continue to grow and expand the business‘.
To mark the new air connection, Minister Loustau-Lalanne presented Mr. Sibusiso Myeza with a Coco de Mer, the largest and heaviest nut in the world, at an arrival ceremony after the first flight landed. The Coco de Mer grows on an rare palm endemic to the Seychelles.
At the controls of the first flight was Captain Christopher Lespoir and First Officer Eddy Cesar, both Seychellois pilots.
In addition to serving Johannesburg and Durban, Air Seychelles also provides travellers with additional travel options to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London in South Africa through its codeshare partner South African Airways.