‘First Airbus marks new start for Air Seychelles’


06-July-2012

A proud moment … President Michel and other guests pose in front of the new aircraft

He said being able to weather the crisis “and spread its wings” at this time – as a result of the airline’s strategic partnership with Etihad Airways – is historic, noting Air Seychelles will be able to maintain a global presence, showing its colours while building the capacity of its Seychellois staff through Etihad’s contacts and continuing to contribute to the country’s economy.

Mr Michel said one could feel the pride of the airline’s staff he met on board when he boarded the plane after its arrival, after he cut the ribbon to inaugurate the new Airbus 330-200 which can carry 236 passengers in the economy class and 18 in the First Class cabin.

Some members of the cabin crew in a souvenir photograph with President Michel inside the new aircraft

The plane’s first officer was Seychellois Captain Paul Belle and had an all Seychellois cabin crew and other Air Seychelles staff returning from training in Abu Dhabi as well as Etihad crew here to serve on an outward bound flight.

The A330 – christened Aldabra – had 150 passengers when it arrived to a traditional water cannon reception to start serving on a lease from Etihad.

The aircraft gets a traditional water cannon reception upon arrival at the airport

Mr Michel was the chief among guests who went to the Seychelles International Airport to greet the arrival of the new plane, along with Vice-President Danny Faure, speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Herminie, chief justice Fredrick Egonda-Ntende, government ministers, chief of defence forces Brigadier Leopold Payet, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly David Pierre, members of the diplomatic corps and top representatives of the local tourism and aviation industries.

Home Affairs and Transport Minister Joel Morgan said: “We made a promise and today we have made good on that promise.

“Only three months ago, Air Seychelles announced that it would modernise its international fleet by retiring the remaining Boeing 767's and bringing in newer Airbus A330s with a much improved product, state of the art in-flight entertainment at every seat and lie-flat seats in the premium cabin.”

He said Air Seychelles now offers a product equal, if not better than that of its competitors.
“To see our new aircraft touch down, emblazoned with Air Seychelles’ brightly-coloured livery, represents a moment of immense patriotic pride for our nation,” he said.

He said it is “a huge undertaking to accomplish so much in such a short time. It has not been an easy transition and there have been many challenges along the way. A fleet change, especially to a new manufacturer, is a momentous task”.

He recognised Air Seychelles’ current and past staff for having worked towards, and allowed the change process, “no matter how arduous”.

“On behalf of our government, I want to say thank you to all who have played a role in making it a reality.”
 
He thanked Mr Michel for steadfastly believing that Air Seychelles must continue as our national carrier, at a time when it faced seemingly impossible odds for its future survival and who, through his vision, determination and perseverance, has made it achievable.

Guests impressed with the state-of-the-art features of the aircraft

“A very special recognition therefore goes to our President, Mr James Michel, for re-positioning our national airline on a secure and steady course for the future through the Air Seychelles-Etihad partnership.

“This has been possible through the President’s very close ties of friendship with the leaders of the UAE who have shown much goodwill towards this viable commercial partnership,” he said.

The new Airbus about to touch down at the Seychelles International Airport

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