Air Seychelles gets first Airbus, eyes China flights with second one soon


07-July-2012

President James Michel called the acquisition a new beginning for the airline, noting only recently it faced global economic difficulties which are still challenging other carriers.

During the ceremony to receive the first Airbus 330-200, Mr Michel was hailed for his foresight, courage and vision in repositioning the national airline ahead of the great turmoil Indian Ocean airlines find themselves faced with as smaller ones in the region collapse.

“By giving Air Seychelles a head start and finding it a strong and excellent strategic partner in Etihad Airways, the worst is behind it. The company has in record time modernised its fleet and right-sized its operation,” said Air Seychelles in a statement.

The historic first flight – operating as HM019 – arrived at Seychelles International Airport at 1.35pm from Abu Dhabi.

The aircraft is named in honour of Aldabra island, a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation world heritage site and one of Seychelles’ most remote and pristine islands.

Aldabra – the world's largest raised coral atoll – is surrounded by a pristine marine environment, uninhabited and known for its distinctive fauna including the Aldabra Giant Tortoise.

Home Affairs and Transport Minister Joel Morgan – who is also the chairman of Air Seychelles – said in naming the aircraft Aldabra, we not only celebrate a national treasure of Seychelles, but also the strong ties with our new partner, Etihad Airways as the name Aldabra is believed to be derived from the Arabic word, meaning The Green.

“Arab traders were among the first to discover the coral atoll and noted its lush and unique vegetation, earning it this name,” he said.

Flying under the supervision of an Etihad Airways captain and training pilot was Air Seychelles Captain Paul Belle, who has completed classroom and flight simulator training for the A330 aircraft at Etihad Airways Training Academy in Abu Dhabi.

“Air Seychelles cabin crew, back in Air Seychelles uniform for the first time after completing A330 safety and service training in Abu Dhabi, filled the cabin with the airline’s signature Creole warmth,” the airline said.

Highlights of the A330 include enhanced in-flight entertainment with personal, on-demand systems at every seat, true lie-flat seats in Business class and refreshed menu design, as well as dine-on-demand personalised tray service in Business class.

Air Seychelles’ chief executive Cramer Ball travelled on board the inaugural flight.

He said: “Today marks a historic moment, a turning point towards a brighter future. The A330 aircraft is not only younger and more fuel-efficient, but it also boasts excellent new product and services never before seen at Air Seychelles. 

“To see our pilots and cabin crew again working proudly in uniform also shows how far Air Seychelles has come in a relatively short time. With our colourful aircraft livery and world-class service, we will bring the Creole spirit to every destination we fly to.”

Mr Ball presented Mr Michel with a model of the aircraft to mark the occasion.

 


 
Guests were delighted to see the new aircraft’s colourful livery as it approached Seychelles land

President Michel cutting the ribbon to formally inaugurate the aircraft

President Michel chats with Captain Belle in the cockpit

President Michel, Vice-President Danny Faure and Mr Morgan and Mr Ball are shown the aircraft’s special features

Roman Catholic and Anglican Church priests blessing the new aircraft with a little help from member of National Assembly Charles Decomarmond

Air Seychelles cabin crew fill the cabin with the airline’s signature Creole warmth

Mr Morgan delivering his speech flanked by Air Seychelles crew

Mr Ball delivering his speech

Mr Ball presents Mr Michel with a model of the aircraft

Some of the guests listening attentively about the aircraft’s unique features and airline’s plans

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