Air Seychelles, has announced the changes to its regional network as part of its business transformation plan to further strengthened and safeguard the sustainability of the airline.
The plan, aimed at increasing efficiencies by maximizing the airline’s resources has been approved by Air Seychelles Board and both shareholders, the Government of the Republic of Seychelles and Etihad Airways.
Jean Weeling-Lee, Chairman of Air Seychelles, said: “To sustain Air Seychelles current and future growth it is important that we continue to review the operational and organizational efficiency of the business constantly.
“In 2018 the airline embarked on a strategic transformation plan to restructure its business and moving forward in 2019, to safeguard the long term profitability and sustainability of the airline we will continue to implement the transformation plan to meet the continuous challenges we face in the environment in which we operate.”
To ensure that Air Seychelles delivers on its mandate, as part of its network efficiency development plan, the airline will consolidate its regional network by suspending its Abu Dhabi service effective 11 May 2019.
All guests scheduled to fly between Seychelles, Abu Dhabi and beyond past that date will be offered alternative travel arrangements.
Remco Althuis, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles said: “After closely monitoring the performance of the Abu Dhabi route and considering all options, Air Seychelles has taken the business decision to suspend its Abu Dhabi service.
“In the past year the route has delivered low passenger numbers and we have even noticed weaker travel demand from the UAE, Europe or Asia connecting with the route, making it not a viable ongoing commercial operation for Air Seychelles.
“We are very grateful to the government of Abu Dhabi, its authorities, the Abu Dhabi International Airport, local businesses, the travel trade, and the general public for their partnership throughout the years of our operation in Abu Dhabi.”
As part of its network adjustments the airline will concentrate on developing its operations in the region. Effective 12 May 2019, Air Seychelles will add a new Sunday service on its Mumbai route, increasing its frequency to six flights per week.
As from 3 June 2019 the airline will commence daily services to Johannesburg with a new flight to be operated on Mondays.
To meet the increasing travel demand over the upcoming summer season the airline will in addition operate seasonal flights between the Seychelles and the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo for a period of four months as from 3 July until 26 October 2019.
Remco Althuis commented: “We fully understand that with Air Seychelles not operating the Abu Dhabi route we now need to find alternative solution to fulfill our business requirement.
“We have explored various options and following demand from passengers we have decided to bring back Madagascar onto our network as a seasonal operation only during the peak summer season to ensure that we utilize the aircraft to the maximum so as to bring additional revenue to the business.”
As part of the plan to refresh its fleet and increase efficiency on its regional network, this year the national airline will take delivery of its first new generation A320neo (new engine option aircraft).
Set to arrive in mid-2019, Air Seychelles will be the first airline in the Western Indian Ocean to receive one the world’s most advanced aircraft.
Equipped with 168 seats the new aircraft will enable the airline to increase capacities across its regional network while at the same time delivering significant fuel savings.
The developments across the entire network will be coupled by a number of revenue-generating initiatives and key projects in 2019 focused at strengthening non-airline areas of the business including the ground handling, cargo handling and engineering services which has been one of the major source of revenue for the airline over the past year given the increasing number of customer airline operating at the Seychelles International Airport.
Didier Dogley, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, said: “Air Seychelles is operating in a challenging environment and as a pillar of tourism for the island nation, it is necessary for the national flag carrier to implement changes onto its network as and when needed.
“With the full support of its stakeholders, Air Seychelles will continue to develop and grow its regional network by tapping into markets where there is great demand so as to provide more options to its guests, increase the number of visitors to our shores in addition to contributing towards the Seychelles economy.”
Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad maintains a strong partnership with Air Seychelles and we continue to support the transformation plan of the airline as eventually the aim is to optimize the network to ensure Air Seychelles is in a strong position for growth and long-term sustainability.”