Seychellois crew fly in new wide bodied plane-• As airline declares US $1m profit


Seychelles’ newest wide bodied jet baptised Vallée de Mai

Air Seychelles is working in partnership with Etihad Airways, but the Airbus A330-200 was brought from Abu Dhabi by Captain Paul Belle and First Officer Hervé Morel who proudly waved our flag when the plane landed and after it got a water canon salute.

The cabin crew were led by their manager Hilary Volcère, amid reports that 163 Seychellois have already been trained as flight and cabin crew at Etihad Airways’ world class facilities in Abu Dhabi.

President Michel said Air Seychelles has taken yet another step that places it in an important position in the history of world aviation.

President Michel cuts the ribbon to officially receive the new aircraft

His vision of the airline teaming up with Etihad was hailed by Air Seychelles’ chief executive Cramer Ball and Home Affairs and Transport Minister Joel Morgan, who said that in 2012, President Michel and his government set the right sail for Air Seychelles.

He also announced the airline has declared US $1 million profit.
“The choice of a strategic partner in Etihad Airways has been the choice of the right sail, the one which allowed us, despite everything, to sail to a safe destination with confidence and certainty,” said Mr Morgan.

He said our partnership with Etihad proves, despite all initial and unwarranted skepticism, that a small airline can be part of a larger equity partnership without losing its soul and its essence. And on the contrary, it can share a common and laudable vision of being a quality and profitable partner, providing inroads into new markets to the benefit of both partners.

President Michel and other guests are guided on a tour of the new aircraft

“The reforms that were boldly undertaken by the dedicated and hardworking team at Air Seychelles have resulted in, among other things, a new chapter in our national airline's history.

“Success embraces only those who have depth in their convictions, foresight in their decisions and courage in their actions. This is the story of the past 15 indelible months for Air Seychelles; a story that could be entitled: From crisis to recovery.

“When I review the immense challenge that we faced in January 2012 and that now I see our airline declaring a profit of one million dollars in under one year of recovery, I feel great pride and emotion for all the dedicated and loyal employees of Air Seychelles, and for us all, the people of Seychelles.”

Catholic Bishop Denis Wiehe and Anglican Bishop James Wong blessing the new aircraft

“The recovery of Air Seychelles not only contributes to the success of the airline and of our economy but as importantly, it improves the destination image of our country.
“It may seem obvious that we are fighting for Air Seychelles but in fact, we are actually fighting for Seychelles. We need a stable and viable national airline if we aim to intensify the country's tourism industry. The continued success of Seychelles as a destination imperatively implies a long-term, orchestrated strategy partnering tourism and aviation,” said Mr Morgan, who added the government remains committed to keep the Air Seychelles story to one of success and prosperity that every Seychellois and our partners can be proud of.

Mr Ball said the new plane will enhance the airline’s flexibility and scheduling options, allowing it to fly to new markets like Hong Kong as well increase capacity and frequency to Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg and Mauritius. 

“With our seven weekly services to Abu Dhabi, made possible by our new aircraft, our connectivity to the world has increased: over 700 weekly connections, to Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Australasia on the combined Air Seychelles/Etihad Airways network.

“Last month, we added Airberlin, Europe’s seventh largest airline, to our list of global partners, adding more depth and breadth to our network.  This partnership will bring more tourists from Germany, one of Seychelles’ fastest growing markets.  And our list of partnerships and codeshare destinations will continue to grow this year, helping to further boost tourism arrivals to Seychelles.” 

President Michel, Vice-President Danny Faure, Minsiter Morgan and Mr Ball posing in front of the new aircraft

He noted the new plane is named Vallée de Mai after Seychelles’ second United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s natural world heritage site.

“I am thrilled our aircraft livery has been enhanced to further promote Seychelles’ commitment to environmental preservation, and that we will carry this message to every destination we fly,” he said, referring to the fact that the plane carries the words: Natural world heritage site, which are printed below the name near the flight deck window.
He also noted the plane carries the name: Air Seychelles which adorns the underbelly, “to increase brand visibility from the ground”. 

“Look for it when the aircraft next takes to the skies,” he said, giving Mr Michel a picture of the plane “as a token of appreciation for his unwavering support for the airline.
Mr Ball also said the airline is already getting good feedback about the quality its onboard service.

“A guest, who had stopped flying Air Seychelles some years ago, posted recently on her Facebook page that her recent experience with us was perfect,” he said. 
“I can’t tell you how proud this makes me. What a testament to the hard work everyone has put in,” he said.