Air Seychelles to increase flights to Mumbai, stop service to Abu Dhabi
Air Seychelles will be increasing flights to Mumbai starting in May. (Air Seychelles)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Air Seychelles will be suspending its Abu Dhabi services and increasing flights to Mumbai starting in May as part of the company’s business transformation plan, the airline said Friday.
The chief executive of the airline, Remco Althuis, said after closely monitoring the performance of the Abu Dhabi route and considering all options, Air Seychelles decided to suspend service on the route.
“In the past year the route has delivered low passenger numbers and we have even noticed weaker travel demand from the UAE, Europe or Asia connecting with the route, making it not a viable ongoing commercial operation for Air Seychelles,” said Althuis.
Guests who have already bought tickets to fly to Abu Dhabi onboard Air Seychelles after May 11 will be rescheduled on alternate flights.
With the company pulling out of Abu Dhabi, Althuis said Air Seychelles needed to find another route to fly.
“We have explored various options and following demand from passengers we have decided to bring back Madagascar onto our network as a seasonal operation only during the peak summer season to ensure that we utilise the aircraft to the maximum so as to bring additional revenue to the business,” he added.
|The chief executive of the airline, Remco Althuis, (left) said after closely monitoring the performance of the Abu Dhabi route and considering all options, Air Seychelles decided to suspend service on the route. (Jude Morel) Photo License: CC-BY|
Seasonal operations to Madagascar will last for four months, from July 3 until October 26.
Concentrating on developing its operation in the region, Air Seychelles will also increase the frequency of flights to Mumbai from five to six flights per week. The additional flight will operate on Sundays, starting May 12.
Flights to Johannesburg will be made daily starting in June.
In his State of the Nation Address on Tuesday, President Danny Faure said this transformation exercise requires governmental support, without which, Air Seychelles would be a company that only flies domestically and offers ground handling services to international airlines that stop in Seychelles.
“This option would be one that is simpler and more profitable, but it is an option that would make Seychelles economically vulnerable. We would need to be 100 percent dependent on foreign airlines to bring tourists to Seychelles,” said Faure.
The president announced that starting this year, the government will be subsidising Air Seychelles over $73,000 every year for the next five years.
As part of the plan to refresh its fleet, Air Seychelles will be exchanging two existing planes for two new more effective ones. The first next-generation A320neo aircraft will arrive in July and the other in March 2020.
Equipped with 168 seats the new aircraft will enable the airline to increase capacities across its regional network while at the same time delivering significant fuel savings.
Non-airline areas of business - ground and cargo handling, and engineering services – will be strengthened through a number of revenue-generating initiatives and key projects this year. These services have been major sources of revenue for the airline over the past year, given the increasing number of customer airline operating at the Seychelles International Airport.