AIR SEYCHELLES TO DROP PARIS ALREADY IN JANUARY
The worst fears are coming true for staff and friends of Air Seychelles, when it was confirmed that not only the initially announced cuts of the routes to London, Milan and Rome will become effective almost immediately and be concluded by January 2012 but that Paris too will be axed without further ado from mid January onwards. Initially it was said that the presently 6 flights a week, all codeshared with Air France, would be reduced to three only and to be phased out completely by March 2012, so this latest announcement comes as yet another shock how swift and ruthless the cuts came and the endgame begins.
Regular sources from Mahe do speak of attempts to at least reach a deal with Etihad, now flying four times a week between Abu Dhabi and Mahe, to use one of Air Seychelles B767-300 aircraft, but knowing how complex such negotiations normally are, this may not come to fruition and see the entire remaining long haul fleet of 3 such aircraft being largely parked, with the only remaining services to Mauritius and Johannesburg still on the schedules.
Air Seychelles management is presently negotiating with ILFC to return the three aircraft without too much of a penalty payment, years before their leases were due to expire, and in turn acquire very likely a B737-800 version to service the Indian Ocean islands and the African mainland, where however presently only Johannesburg is active, while other destinations maybe studied right now in order to determine demand.
We could never have imagined that from flying our national colours high and proud we could be cut to such an extent in so short a time. It is not just a shock for all Seychellois, it is also a shame that this was allowed to happen and not more and greater efforts taken to seek HMs survival. As you wrote a while ago, were all options sufficiently explored, like to cooperate with Air Austral or Air Mauritius and combine routes and pool resources, share facilities in Europe and get closer? No one can answer that and now it is too late as we are turned into a shadow of our former self said a regular source from Mahe upon enquiring about feelings and fact from the archipelagos aviation fraternity. To the old Air Seychelles, as we all knew and respected the airline, it will be a final Merry Christmas but clearly not a Happy New Year, as in 2012 the dice will roll to determine what shape, image and direction the new Air Seychelles will take. Best of luck for that of course and happy landings until the last service from Europe has safely landed back home on Mahe in January next year.