Air Seychelles to launch weekly direct flights to China in late December
The airline's weekly charter flights to Chengdu, China start on Tuesday, December 26. (Air Seychelles)
The Seychelles' national carrier, Air Seychelles, will start flying weekly charter flights to Chengdu, China as of Tuesday, December 26, the airline said Wednesday.
The flights to Chengdu on HM885 depart the Seychelles International airport at Pointe Larue on Tuesdays at 11.25 a.m. and return on Wednesdays on HM886 at 1.30 a.m. from December 26 to March 20 next year.
Roy Kinnear, the airline’s chief executive, said, “We are delighted to announce a new series of charter flights from Chengdu, which will offer more than 6,500 return seats between China and Seychelles over the next four months.”
Kinnear added that "the growth in outbound tourism from China has created strong travel demand to Seychelles, and we are excited to work hand-in-hand with Beijing Tongxing Aviation Services to provide greater accessibility for Chinese travellers looking to discover our islands.”
The chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, said, “We welcome the news of the direct flight and this is something we have been advocating for our meetings and workshops.”
Francis said that the Board’s Chinese colleagues had shared that the lack of direct flights since February was negatively impacting visitor arrivals to Seychelles as their clients preferred flying directly instead of via other routes.
Air Seychelles has partnered with Beijing Tongxing Aviation Services to bring these charter flights to the travelling public to Chengdu, one of the biggest cities in western China with a population of over 14 million.
Last year, the Seychelles' national airline started weekly scheduled charter flight services between the Chinese city of Beijing and the island nation in accordance with the bilateral Air Services Agreement signed between the two countries. The one-year contract ended in February.
According to the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) from January to date, Seychelles has recorded a little over 11,400 Chinese visitors to the island nation compared to around 13,800 in 2016.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, relies largely on tourism which is the main contributing sector to its economy.