First A320neo in Africa receives warm welcome in Mauritius upon landing | 10 August 2019
Air Seychelles’ first Airbus A320neo aircraft named ‘Veuve’ registered as S7-VEV on Thursday conducted its official flight to the multi-cultural island of Mauritius located in the south western part of the Indian Ocean.
The flight, which departed Seychelles at 10.30am, was welcomed by a ceremonial water canon salute upon landing at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.
To mark the arrival of the newest acquisition in the island of Mauritius, Air Seychelles hosted a celebratory cocktail at the Airports of Mauritius (AML) Receptorium with high government officials, key stakeholders, local travel trade and representatives of the media from both Mauritius and Seychelles.
Speaking at the event, Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, Minister for Tourism of the Republic of Mauritius, said: “Air Seychelles needs to be congratulated for the acquisition of a modern and fuel-efficient Airbus A320neo. We are delighted to have this new aircraft sharing its colours in our skies. I am happy that carriers in our region are sensitive to the impact of carbon footprint of air travel by investing in equipment which addresses the concern of climate change.”
The single aisle aircraft manufactured by Airbus comprises 12 Business Class and 156 Economy Class seats. Powered by the new-generation LEAP-1A engine from CFM International, the new A320neo jetliner featuring fuel-saving wingtip devices known as sharklets is the world’s most advanced and fuel-efficient aircraft.
Airports of Mauritius deputy chief executive, Siven Chellen, further highlighted: “As we welcome Air Seychelles’ first A320-Neo in Mauritius, we salute the substantial efforts of the airline which has taken the bold step of investing in the modernisation of its fleet.
“We are confident that in addition to the expected benefits of increased capacity and reduced fuel consumption, the new aircraft will enhance further the quality of services offered to passengers and continue to boost the aviation industry in our region.”
Head of airline marketing Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa, Joep Ellers, also commented: “The A320neo is the world’s most advanced and fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft. We are particularly proud with this one here today as it is the first A320neo flying with an African airline.”
Incorporated with the latest wireless inflight entertainment seyStream, the A320neo offers significant environmental benefits compared to the previous generation aircraft.
Delivering his speech at the event, Air Seychelles’ chief executive Remco Althuis said: “Air Seychelles is proud to be the first A320neo operator in the Indian Ocean and Africa.
“The aircraft will primarily serve the Johannesburg and Mumbai market but we are pleased to be able to also operate this aircraft once per week to Mauritius especially with the start of our flights to Tel Aviv set to commence in November this year which will provide increased capacity on the route.
“As part of our mandate in ensuring that we remain efficient and continue to meet the needs of our guests we will continue to maintain the close relationship with all our partners present here today as it is only with your support that we will be able to strive to greater heights.”
The flight which departed Mauritius on the same day was commanded by captain Mervin Sicobo and first officer Juan Romain. The guests were attended to by a group of dedicated flight attendants including cabin manager Tania Mellie, cabin senior Carole Agathine, flight attendants Mike Maria and Yannick Commettant.
The flight attendants were all dressed in their new elegant uniforms reflecting the aqua colours of the pristine beaches and greenery ecosystem of the Seychelles islands reflecting the distinctive colours of the livery of the aircraft.
‘Veuve’, first A320neo in Africa
Air Seychelles officially became the first Airbus A320neo operator in the Indian Ocean and Africa following the successful delivery of the A320neo on Friday August 2, 2019.
Named ‘Veuve’ after the endemic Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, the airline’s new A320neo touched down at the Seychelles International Airport at around 1.10pm and was welcomed by a ceremonial water-cannon salute.
Witnessing the landmark event were the Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, principal secretary for civil aviation, ports and marine Alain Renaud, various government officials, stakeholders and members of the travel trade.
Veuve is being leased from CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing, at a sum of $300,000 per month for a period of 12 years.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, Veuve was also blessed by Father David Alcindor.
The ferry flight departed Hamburg, Germany on August 1 in the evening commanded by Captain Nicole Chang-Leng and First Officer Steven Jasmin and made a stopover in Abu Dhabi before proceeding to Seychelles, under the command of Hervé Morel and First Officer Samuel Lautée.
Air Seychelles embarked on a strategic transformation plan in 2018 to restructure its business and safeguard the long-term profitability and sustainability, wherein it focused its reach to routes in the region such as Johannesburg, Mumbai and Mauritius.
It terminated its flights to Europe and the Airbus A330s left the fleet as part of the restructuring programme.
Air Seychelles will be swopping one of its Airbus A320ceo in May 2020 for yet another A320neo jet as it continues with its transformative process.
“This new aircraft is the integral part of a five-year transformation plan; we focus on regional network and we do so with new neo technology and stronger engines which gives us a massive improvement,” said Air Seychelles’ CEO Althuis who added that the A320neo will allow Air Seychelles to increase the capacity on its network while delivering significant fuel savings and reducing the operating costs.
The A320neo is one of many upgrades introduced by Airbus to help maintain its A320 product line’s position as the world’s most advanced and fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft family and features large, fuel-saving wingtip devices known as sharklets.
Air Seychelles expects that the aircraft will cost the company 20% less in fuel compared to the A320ceo. This allows the plane to fly further than the A320ceo ever could, which in turn allows Air Seychelles to open up to new destinations such as Tel Aviv, Israel – a route Air Seychelles will commence flying in October this year.
The A320neo also makes 50% less noise than the A320ceo.
Another particularity on Veuve is that is does not have any screen for in-flight entertainment since Air Seychelles has opted to provide SeyStream, an onboard entertainment streaming service available through Wi-Fi. Passengers will be able to access this service either on their smartphones, tablets or laptops. All seats are subsequently equipped with charging ports for smartphones and tablets.
Another concept designed with efficiency and convenience in mind is the aircraft’s special overhead stowage for its life raft which frees up the other stowage areas to take more luggage.
The airplane has also made optimal use of the rear cabin with the use of Airbus’ Space-Flex lavatories, which allows the two lavatories that are usually located on either side of the central aisle, to be removed and placed further back.
This has provided Air Seychelles with space for six additional revenue-generating seats.
This new generation of aircraft also provides passengers with more leg room for enhanced passenger comfort due to the special seat designs.
The seats have also been designed using lightweight materials, making the aircraft lighter.
About Air Seychelles
Air Seychelles was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. The airline currently offers international flights to Johannesburg, Mauritius and Mumbai. Air Seychelles also offers more than 350 domestic scheduled flights a week throughout the archipelago, including 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 maintains a strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and 40 per cent stakeholder.
For more information, please visit: www.airseychelles.com