Financial turnaround for Air Seychelles?



Information has been sent from Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles, about the significant improvements in national airline Air Seychelles revenues this year. Owned 40 percent now by Abu Dhabi’s national carrier Etihad and managed by a team attached to Air Seychelles from there under a 5 year management agreement, key indicators are vastly improved, with revenues in quarter three of 2012 risen over quarter two figures by 23 percent or by 13.8 million US Dollars, according to the details given by the source.

Passenger load factors have climbed to in average 60 percent, up by 17 percent while passenger numbers carried are reportedly up by just over 50 percent. Air Seychelles presently operates an Airbus A330-200 flying under HM colours and a wetleased A320 from Etihad, besides a fleet of De Havilland Twinotters and a Short for domestic scheduled flights to Praslin and charter flights to other islands. Another Airbus A330 is due to join he fleet in early 2013, supposed to then commence flights to China, though the latest information here too is that the routing will go via Abu Dhabi bearing a code shared flight number with dominant partner Etihad which presently does not operate to Hong Kong.

The airline, as part of cost cutting measures, had radically halted all direct flights from Europe in early January this year, under then CEO Bram Stellar who had joined from Kenya Airways in October 2011 where he was COO. His decision to close down the European gateways of London, Paris, Milan and Rome left crucial tourist markets like France reeling from the blow of losing the 6 weekly flights codeshared with Air France. Up to date many key tourism stakeholders insist that the drop in market share from France can only be recovered by restoring direct flight links between Paris and Mahe, instead of having all travelers now compelled to use an intermediate hub along the way to change flights. The new Etihad seconded management team led by Cramer Ball took over in February this year and Bram Stellar, initially retained in a consulting capacity, has since left the Seychelles for a new position in the Gulf.

Watch this space for regular and breaking news from East Africa’s and the Indian Ocean’s vibrant aviation scene.

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