Air Austral resumes direct non-stop commercial flights to Seychelles Islands
Almasalla- Arab Travel Portal News – Air Austral first non-stop commercial direct flight between La Reunion Island and the Seychelles has landed in Seychelles. It was exactly 20h25, Monday 23rd of June that an Air Austral Boeing 737, made its historical landing on the Seychelles International Airport with 93 passengers on board.
Passengers made their descent onto the tarmac, to entertainment by the Seychelles National Cultural Troupe. Joel Morgan, Minister of Home Affairs, Transport and Energy was joined by Anne Lafortune, Principal Secretary for Tourism and Sherin Naiken the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board as he made his way to the run way to welcome Air Austral’s six crew members.
Didier Alenard, Air Austral captain, piloted the 162 seater aircraft and along with his crew were greeted by Minister Morgan and his delegation at the foot of the air stairs. Minister Morgan said the resumption of Air Austral’s first commercial flight in Seychelles is an important step in opening direct link between Seychelles and Reunion.
“It’s an important step for Seychelles and Reunion because the resumption of Air Austral flights to Seychelles is the result of the political will of James Michel, President of Republic of Seychelles and Didier Robert, President of Regional Council of Reunion Island, to open connectivity between Seychelles and Reunion.” Joel Morgan, the Seychelles Minister of Home Affairs, Environment, Transport and Energy said
It was in 2013 that Air Austral suspended its flights to Seychelles.
The recommencement of Air Austral’s direct non-stop flights to Seychelles sends a positive message to the tourism trade partners in Seychelles. The Reunion traffic benefits the small guest houses, self catering and small hotels and this business all but disappeared when the airline had discontinued its services sometime back.
It is known that the Seychelles secret brand, exclusively for small hotels, guest houses and self caterings, are all members of the island’s home grown properties and they were the preferred choice of establishments for tourists from Reunion Island.
Air Austral pulled out from Seychelles was a recipe of disaster for these properties, which had to tap into alternative markets to stay in business. With the re-surfacing of Air Austral on the Seychelles route, the Seychelles Tourism Board is intensifying its visibility campaign in La Reunion to help grow the business from this neighbouring island. Anne Lafortune, the Principal Secretary for Tourism said her department hope to work closely with the grouping “Vanilla Islands”, to consolidate the inter-island networking and have more twin and three centre packages soldacross the four corners of the world that would include Mauritius, Madagascar, Reunion, Comoros, Mayotte and Maldives.
Sherin Naiken, the Chief Executive Officer of Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) said the resumption of Air Austral flights to Seychelles is a positive move for the Seychelles tourism industry. She said the Tourism Board and the Reunion Tourism Office in Reunion Island (IRT) are working on joint marketing approaches to increase Air Austral’s loading factor. She said that the Tourism Board is being innovative in its approach to work with local tour operators and airlines to develop twin centre packages which will be beneficial for the Reunion and Indian Ocean market alike.
Air Austral’s two direct weekly flights will be operated on Mondays and Thursdays and returns flight to Reunion will leave Seychelles Tuesdays and Fridays. Passengers in Seychelles travelling to Reunion can book their flights with Mason’s Travel, the local agent of Air Austral.