Air Seychelles considering adding new long haul Airbus to open new routes
Air Seychelles A320neo called 'Veuve' landing at the international airport at Pointe Larue. (Air Seychelles)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Air Seychelles is considering adding a new Airbus A321XLR to its fleet and a route to Perth, Australia as part of its five-year restructuring plan.
The chairperson of Air Seychelles, Jean Weeling-Lee, told SNA on Tuesday that a long-haul aircraft such as the Airbus A321XLR in the company's fleet will be more efficient "and would open new avenues for Air Seychelles to tap into as currently, our A320neo cannot take a long route like Perth, which is a potential market."
In a recent interview with Airlineratings.com -- an airline product review website -- the chief executive of Air Seychelles, Remco Althuis, said that the XLR would be a fabulous tool to scale up.
"We could do destinations in a ten-hour circle around the Seychelles. But realistically we would go southbound only with it, that would be Perth and Cape Town," Althuis was quoted as saying.
Airbus launched the A321XLR in June last year to complement its best-selling A321neo family. The aircraft has more range and helps airlines by bringing lower fuel costs.
The national carrier of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, started a restructuring plan in March last year which included reducing the number of staff and operation cost to ensure it covers its expenses and make profits.
Weeling-Lee told SNA that in view of the restructuring "it would be good to keep an eye on new opportunities and investment that might be more valuable for the company in the future."
The airline has taken several steps to boost revenue. In August last year, it added an Airbus A320neo to its international fleet, becoming the first airline in the Indian Ocean and Africa to have the aircraft.
Last November, Air Seychelles started operating weekly chartered flights to Tel Aviv in which tickets are sold before the plane can fly.
Althuis admitted to Airlineratings.com that Air Seychelles has not been profitable for some time. "The business is not generating cash yet, but that should be achieved within a year. Once the second A320neo is in service, we should start to generate positive cash flow."
Air Seychelles is already facing a competitive environment and the island nation's President Danny Faure said in his State of the Nation address in February 2019 that the government will subsidise the airline $6 million per year for the next five years starting 2020.
The national carrier of Seychelles was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. Air Seychelles currently offers scheduled international flights to Johannesburg, Mauritius and Mumbai.