Air Seychelles returns to full government ownership after exit of Etihad


Travel from India banned again

(Posted 30th April 2021)

Talks to take over full ownership of Air Seychelles between the governments of Seychelles and Abu Dhabi – the latter the owner of Etihad – were concluded earlier this week. Etihad’s owners agreed to sell back their 40 percent share in Air Seychelles at knock down price to the Seychelles’ government.

Etihad came to the rescue of Air Seychelles back in 2012, when it faced an uncertain future after management sold off all their Boeing B767’s and ceased long haul operations due to financial difficulties. The Abu Dhabi government at the time took a 40 percent share in the airline, invested some 20 million US Dollars in operating capital, seconded new aircraft but also attached top management and took over the maintenance and training activities.

Already before the onset of the global pandemic, in good part owing to the difficulties Etihad itself faced following the crash and burn of the airline’s buy in policy in airlines in order to create a major global aviation player, had Air Seychelles returned their A330 long haul aircraft and invested instead in two Airbus A320Neo’s.

Following the change of government in the Seychelles were proposals floated to reduce the airline to a purely domestic carrier but latest information confirms that such plans have been shelved, retaining the airline as a regional carrier. Air Seychelles’ present regional operations remain scaled down due to the ongoing pandemic.

Reports from usually reliable sources have told that the buyback of the Etihad shares and loans was subject to a nearly 80 percent writedown. Seychelles still owes bondholders over 70 million US Dollars which still needs resolution.

The same source also confirmed that a new board of directors has been appointed already by the Seychelles’ government. The term of office for both CEO and CFO will reportedly end on the 30th of June, indicating that the new board intends to advertise these two key positions in due course.

Meanwhile has it also been confirmed that travelers from India will not be allowed into the Seychelles even if they can show a full vaccination status. The decision was taken after rising case numbers in the Seychelles and the admission from health authority officials that the verification of vaccination certificates proved too difficult to administer on arrival. Vaccinations of Seychellois adults with both doses has now reached 60 percent, yet case numbers have still been rising to presently over 5700 cases, more of 600 of those still active.

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