Seychelles’ national airline sees 12 percent rise in passengers in first quarter of 2017
The national carrier saw its passenger numbers increase by 12.4 percent from January to March, as it carried over 143,000 passengers, up from nearly 128,000 during the same period in 2016. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Air Seychelles said on Wednesday that the national airline’s domestic operations contributed largely towards what it has described as ‘a strong first quarter 2017 performance.’
The national carrier saw its passenger numbers increase by 12.4 percent from January to March, as it carried over 143,000 passengers, up from nearly 128,000 during the same period in 2016.
“The airline’s domestic operations made a strong contribution to the Q1 2017 results, with passenger volumes rising 13.7 percent year-on-year, to 55,431,” reads an Air Seychelles statement.
March has been described as a particularly strong month for the airline, during which more than 20,000 passengers travelled on domestic flights between the islands of the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Using its fleet of Twin Otters, Air Seychelles operates daily flights between the main island Mahé and Praslin, the second-most populated island.
In addition, the airline offers charter flights to other islands in the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean on its Twin Otter Fleet. These include Desroches, Bird and Denis Islands with the aim of providing travellers with an opportunity to explore lesser-known reaches of the country.
Air Seychelles has said that the growth in domestic traffic was driven by its decision to increase the daily frequency of flights between Mahé and Praslin. This is aimed at offering more travel options for residents, day-trippers and tourists arriving on international flights to Seychelles.
With regards to the international network, an 11.5 percent increase has been recorded as Air Seychelles transported more than 88,000 passengers during the first quarter of 2017. Flights between Seychelles and Abu Dhabi, as well as Seychelles and Johannesburg were said to be the busiest.
Commenting on the performance, Air Seychelles' Chairman Jean Weeling-Lee said the airline “is delivering remarkably on its mandate of supporting the growth of tourism in Seychelles.”
As part of its expansion plans in 2017, targeting Europe and the Indian Ocean region, Air Seychelles has invested in a second Airbus A330, and introduced flights to Düsseldorf, Germany and Durban, South Africa at the end of March..
Air Seychelles Chief Executive Roy Kinnear said the increase in passenger volume is “even more impressive as these numbers were largely achieved prior to the introduction of our new Airbus A330, two new Twin Otter turboprops, and the expansion of our network to Düsseldorf and Durban, which all occurred in mid to late March.”
Air Seychelles was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. The airline maintains a strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airway, which bought a 40 percent stake in the company in 2012, investing $45 million in the airline with the aim of turning the company around after several years of losses.