Air Seychelles to End Long-Haul Flights, Focus on Local Operations
On April 24, 2018, Air Seychelles will cancel its long-haul flight between Seychelles International Airport on the island of Mahe (SEZ), and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). The SEZ-CDG route makes up 30% of the airline's passenger revenue.
The small national carrier, which is partly owned by Etihad Airways, no doubt is struggling from increased international competition. British Airways is expected to launch service to Seychelles in March, while Air France subsidiary Joon begins operations in May, followed by Swiss Edelweiss Air in September. These three airlines join nine existing carriers that serve the island nation in addition to Air Seychelles, creating a huge increase in capacity to Seychelles that will likely drive airfare prices down.
"This represents a major challenge to the company as Paris accounts for approximately 30% of our total passenger revenue at air Seychelles," Air Seychelles CEO Remco Althius said in reference to the combined influx of inbound availability to Seychelles.
Air Seychelles will also cancel service to Antananarivo, Madagascar (TNR) in April, continuing the recent major adjustments to the airline's business model. These cancellations follow in the wake of last September's termination of Air Seychelles' twice-weekly Dusseldorf (DUS) route, which was in service for less than six months.
Instead, Air Seychelles plans to shift its focus a little closer to home, concentrating on its domestic efforts, including its inter-island operations between Mahe and Praslin (PRI) as well as island charters and scenic tour packages. In addition, the airline plans to replace its two regional Airbus A320 with next-generation narrow-bodied aircraft in 2019 in a bid to operate more competitively. Air Seychelles currently owns 10 planes in total.
Seychelles as a country saw marked growth in tourism in 2017, with a 15% increase over 2016. Austrian Airlines became the third airline to offer nonstop direct service between Europe and Seychelles. The 115-island archipelago nation anticipates an additional 8-10% increase in tourism in 2018, bolstering the main pillar of Seychelles' economy.
Feature photo courtesy Air Seychelles