Air Seychelles being examined for restructuring or shutdown, official says
Derjacques said that it is in the government's plans to ensure that we minimise the impact of anything that happens at Air Seychelles. (Air Seychelles)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Two administrators are examining Air Seychelles' finances and operations, and will recommend either a turnaround plan or that the national airline should be shut down, a top official said Tuesday.
"The administrators will able to do one of three things after they have gone through the company's books, which is either to come up with a rescue plan, to get Air Seychelles out of its current state or re-structure the company, or they can recommend the winding up of the company," said the Minister for Transport, Anthony Derjacques.
The tasks of the two administrators, Suketu Patel and Bernard Pool, will be to consider the optimum ways of restructuring the company and settling its debts.
Air Seychelles and the Ministry of Transport said in a statement Monday that the airline's "financial difficulties arise mainly due to significant debt that was incurred during the stewardship of the airline by Etihad Airways, which was previously a 40 percent shareholder in the company. This debt comprises amounts that were owed directly to Etihad and also loans of almost $72 million that were funded by the capital markets and are now controlled by bondholders of EA Partners."
A petition was filed by the Apex Trustees Bondholders on August 19 for the winding up of Air Seychelles to recuperate investment made in the national carrier of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
While the process of administration is ongoing, Derjacques, along with the chairman of the Air Seychelles board of directors, Veronique Laporte, said they are confident that the company will survive these tough times.
"It is in the government's plans to ensure that we minimise the impact of anything that happens at Air Seychelles. I can assure the current staff of Air Seychelles that while I am not saying anything bad will happen, but if it ever happens, the government will support all staff and look to assist them in seeking alternative employment," said the Minister.
Air Seychelles, the national airline of Seychelles, was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. The airline offers both international and domestic flights. It also provides ground handling and cargo services to 12 airlines operating at the Seychelles International Airport at Pointe Larue.
One of the main services that will be affected in the case of Air Seychelles ceasing its operations, is the ground handling services at the Seychelles' international airport.
While it is the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) that runs the airport, the ground handling services are provided by Air Seychelles and therefore, a winding up of the airline will also affect these services.
The chief executive of the SCAA, Garry Albert, told SNA that they are monitoring the situation, to ensure that airport operations can continue.
"If anything happens, we at SCAA will ensure that the Airport can continue to welcome flights to the island, where even if we have to, we will take up ground services ourselves and also seek foreign aid if we need to, to help on a temporary basis until a permanent solution is found," said Albert.
He said that SCAA is not in the business of ground handling but it can step in to offer any service, to ensure the continuity of airport services.
In view of the current situation, SCAA has cancelled the exclusivity for Air Seychelles to provide ground handling services.