Air Seychelles starts flights to Durban
30 March 2017
Today, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal welcomed the inaugural flight of Air Seychelles to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.
Air Seychelles will be flying a twice-weekly non-stop service on Thursdays and Saturdays, connecting Durban and the Seychelles' capital Mahé, using an Airbus A320 Aircraft with a 16-seat business class and 120-seat economy configuration, which will achieve an average flight time of 5 hours, 20 minutes.
Mr Sihle Zikalala, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs said KwaZulu-Natal, with its thriving tourism sector, placed great importance in opening its borders to foreign visitors. "These include a combination of general tourists and potential investors who contribute significantly to the region’s economic growth. This new airline route will therefore further help in facilitating that movement of leisure and business travelers between KwaZulu-Natal and the Seychelles."
Zikalala added that the new route into the Seychelles would boost the supply various consumer goods, machinery parts and implements, which the island currently imports. "With available cargo capacity on the Airbus A320 aircraft being flown by Air Seychelles, freighting goods using this flight will contribute towards KwaZulu-Natal produced goods being more competitive within the Seychelles. Given that there are already South African retailers with operation on the island nation, suppliers who have been flying their goods out of Johannesburg, now have a direct route, and far more convenient logistics option, which speaks directly to the potential of this route,” said the MEC.
Durban’s King Shaka International Airport has seen an increase in the number of regional and international airlines, which have introduced new air services into the airport; since late 2015 Durban has attracted six new airlines, which together provide onward connections to over 700 destinations around the globe.
Mr Hamish Erskine, CEO, Dube TradePort Corporation noted, “The KwaZulu-Natal Route Development Committee has been working tirelessly behind-the-scenes to secure the introduction of new regional and international air services to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport. Strategically presenting data-driven business cases to airlines, we aim to show route planners, from around the world, the potential market that exists within Durban and the rest of KwaZulu-Natal. We are always motivated when a new airline takes up our offer and commences a new route into Durban; we had been in talks with Air Seychelles for the last 12 months for them to put on this new non-stop route.
‘Air Seychelles will provide onward connectivity to key destinations across Europe, the Far East, India and the Middle East, through the hub in Abu Dhabi. Air Seychelles' connection to Mumbai will provide a convenient travel option for KwaZulu-Natal and other neighbouring provinces.”
Alan Renaud, General Manager for Aeropolitical, Alliances and Public Affairs said, “We are delighted to begin serving the vibrant city of Durban with twice-weekly flights from Seychelles. Our route network now boasts air connections to one of the most popular cities on South Africa's coast, known for its Golden Mile beach and fantastic surfing, and we are confident it will attract strong leisure traffic and business traffic from across our network.”
The new route will strengthen socio-economic cooperation between Durban and Seychelles and will contribute towards inter-regional development by becoming another commercial launch pad for KwaZulu-Natal into the rest of the world.
Air Seychelles Flight Schedule:
*All departures and arrivals above are listed in local time.
Air Seychelles was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. The airline currently offers international flights to Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg and Mauritius, operated by its new A330-200 aircraft. Air Seychelles also offers more than 160 domestic scheduled flights a week throughout the archipelago, as well as domestic charter services. As the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, Air Seychelles is a pillar of tourism, the island nation’s strongest and growing economic sector.
The Airline visions and mission is to be a profitable and high quality Airline and delivering to their guests a quality service with unique Creole warmth.
In 2012 and as part of a strategic partnership alliance, Etihad Airways acquired a 40 percent stake in Air Seychelles at a cost of $20 million. The deal also called for the Seychelles government to pump in another $20 million into Air Seychelles. Etihad also agreed to provide a shareholder loan of $25 million to cover the Airline cash needs and to fund the development of its network. The agreement also made for provision for a five-year management contract for Etihad Airways to see the implementation of strategic measures to encourage Air Seychelles’ long-term commercial growth.
In April 2014, Air Seychelles, announced a net profit of US$3 million for 2013, exceeding by 171 percent its profit of US$1.1 million reported in 2012. Revenue increased by 107 per cent to US$88.7 million (2012: US$42.8 million). The airline’s passenger numbers on its international network increased 100per cent to 195,857 (2012:97,576), while traffic on domestic services in 2013 increased nine per cent to 156,617 passengers.
For the future, it is the Airline plan to grow its operations, launch new routes, take delivery of new aircraft, expand the airline partnerships, hire more Seychellois, and bring in more travellers to the Seychelles.