APPREHENSION AMONG STAFF AS AIR SEYCHELLES LOOKS AT A YEAR OF CHANGE
(Posted 04th January 2018)
The new year at Air Seychelles started with the departure of former CEO Roy Kinnear, who will take up a position as Chief Commercial Officer of Flybe in the UK as his successor Remco Althuis has taken charge of the airline as Interim CEO effective New Year’s Day.
The new year will see the four star airline and winner of several World Tourism Awards in 2017 face a new set of challenges, as indicated already by comments made from the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Mr. Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, who in the past notably also served in Executive and Board positions at Air Seychelles.
Minister Maurice was quoted in December by local media in Victoria as having said that there will be a restructuring of the airline going underway by late Q1 or early Q2 2018, raising both speculation as well as causing apprehension among staff when he reportedly added that there will be redundancies among the staff.
Usually reliable sources based in Abu Dhabi have suggested to this correspondent that Air Seychelles could be transformed into an Indian Ocean regional airline with Etihad – hard hit by losses incurred through failed investments in airlines like Air Berlin and Alitalia – seeking to take on the long haul feeding of passengers to Seychelles via their Abu Dhabi hub.
This was already the case after Etihad acquired a 40 percent stake over five years ago, when the Boeing B767 fleet of Air Seychelles was disposed of before introducing Airbus A320’s for flights to Abu Dhabi, across the Indian Ocean islands, to South Africa and eventually also to Mumbai.
The addition of two Airbus A330 aircraft then gave Air Seychelles the capacity to resume nonstop flights to Paris which previously routed via Abu Dhabi as well and to, for some time, fly to Hong Kong too.
Presently are the A330’s deployed on the routes to Paris, to China on charter business and to Johannesburg.
Given the Minister’s remarks has much speculation emerged which shape and format Air Seychelles will take come the restructuring being put into effect.
Meanwhile has 40 percent shareholder Etihad Airways transferred its holding to a different but also state owned entity, moving their investment in Air Seychelles from direct to a different status.
Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.