British Airways to resume flights to Seychelles in major boost for tourism
The two non-stop flights per week from London Heathrow airport to Seychelles start from March 24 next year using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. (Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - British Airways will resume direct flights to Seychelles in March after a decade-long absence, giving the island nation a major new boost to its tourism market, officials said on Tuesday.
The airline will start operating two non-stop flights per week from London Heathrow airport to Seychelles from March 24 next year using its newest fleet of aircraft, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
The departure flights from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 will be on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the return flights on Thursdays and Sundays.
British Airways, the flag carrier of the United Kingdom, stopped direct flights to Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, more than a decade ago.
The new twice-weekly flights will operate from March to October, offering more choice to sun-seeking holidaymakers.
The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, said, “Seychelles has in the past years at every given opportunity expressed its interest to see British Airways serving the destination again and the invitations were even extended from the highest office in Seychelles. We are happy that this long-awaited day has arrived.”
Francis added that “the UK is a very important market for Seychelles and the team at British Airways can count on our support for this route.”
The British carrier says the route timetable is perfectly positioned for honeymooners and holidaymakers keen on extending their break in the Seychelles.
The Seychelles’ Minister of Tourism, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne in welcoming the announcement, said this is the best news for the Seychelles’ tourism industry, for both its short term and long term viability.
“We were all devastated when British Airways pulled out in 2004. The return of British Airways to the Seychelles with two non-stop flights from London Heathrow in 2018 will provide a boost, especially to our 5 Star establishments,” said Loustau-Lalanne.
The minister added that the direct flights will also help to further develop the United States market and elsewhere.
On the side of the British Airways, the Director of Network and Alliances, Sean Doyle said, “The Seychelles is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and we’re delighted to be adding this collection of islands to our extensive route network.”
Once it starts operation in March next year, British Airways will become the only airline offering direct service between Seychelles and the U.K.
Visitor arrivals from the U.K and Northern Ireland to date is around 15,400, making it the Seychelles' fifth leading market and representing a 22 percent increase over last year.
British Airways has launched over 30 new routes across the globe this year and flights to its new Indian Ocean route, Seychelles, as of March 2018 are already available for booking.