Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, today launched a twice-per-week service to Antananarivo, the bustling capital of Madagascar.
The inaugural flight, HM 755, touched down at Ivato International Airport at 10:55 am, becoming the island carrier’s fourth point in its the Indian Ocean and Africa network, after Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg and Mauritius.
Onboard the maiden flight were senior executives of the airline and officials from the Seychelles Tourism Board.
The maiden flight was greeted by a traditional water-cannon salute, a performing arts troupe and a high-profile delegation from Madagascar including Minister of Transport, Ulrich Andriatiana, and Minister of Tourism, Benjamina Ramanantsoa, along with aviation and tourism officials who hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the new service.
Operated on an Airbus A320 with 16 Business Class and 120 Economy Class seats, the new service offers a combined capacity of over 2,100 seats per month.
Manoj Papa, Air Seychelles’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to launch this twice-weekly service to Antananarivo, a rapidly growing city of over two million people and the economic and cultural heart of Madagascar.
“With an annual cargo capacity of over 370 tons on our Airbus A320, this service will facilitate not only increased flows of tourism into Seychelles, but also larger volumes of trade. This reinforces our commitment to growing the national economy of the Seychelles.”
“Today’s maiden service to Madagascar also caps the fastest-ever expansion of our operations in history, which has been possible thanks to the support of Etihad Airways and our acquisition of an Airbus A320 aircraft.”
Business and leisure travelers between Mahé and Antananarivo can now enjoy convenient access to the world’s fourth-largest island. Through the airline’s global network, the new flights also offer seamless connections to destinations in Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East and beyond.
Joël Morgan, Seychelles’ Minister of Home Affairs and Transport and Chairman of Air Seychelles, said: “As a member of the Indian Ocean Commission and an important emerging market in the Indian Ocean, we are thrilled to add Madagascar to our regional network.
“Famed for its unique wildlife – five percent of all known animal and plant species can be found here – Madagascar is currently experiencing a boom in ecotourism and accelerated economic growth. With our new service, we are well-poised to cater to the growing demand for air connectivity between Madagascar, Seychelles and beyond.
“This launch is also a very fitting way to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Seychelles and Madagascar, which were first established in 1989.
“Our bilateral ties have deepened and widened across many different sectors over the last two decades and with this service we can look forward to enhancing our relations further, with more cultural exchanges, technical cooperation and people-to-people contact.”