Today, Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, held a media conference at King Shaka International Airport, to announce its new direct route to Durban, set to commence on 30 March 2017.
The carrier was represented by Maja Gedosev, General Manager Sales, Distribution and Corporate Affairs at Air Seychelles, who was joined by David Germain, from the Seychelles Tourism Board office in South Africa and Nkosinathi Myataza, Assistant General Manager Operations Services Durban International Airport.
The new Durban route will be operated twice-per-week on an Airbus A320 aircraft in a two-cabin configuration and will be the airline’s second route in South Africa after Johannesburg, where the carrier flies five times per week.
Lying on South Africa’s eastern coast, Durban has a population of more than three million people and is a major centre of trade and commerce, with the largest and busiest port in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr Sihle Zikalala, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, welcomes the airline to KwaZulu-Natal’s warm shores, saying:
“With the increased air connectivity from the Seychelles comes further growth of our tourism business, and therefore our economies. The increased direct air connectivity that Air Seychelles opens up to KwaZulu-Natal is certainly exciting, especially given the further linkages they will provide to destinations in India and Europe. With strong ties already established between South Africa and the Seychelles, there is great potential for further tourism and trade growth; while the A320 Airbus aircraft they will be using to service the Durban route brings the potential to increase the cargo capacity being freighted out of Durban. In addition, the onward connectivity that Air Seychelles will provide to India and Germany will enable Durban travellers to seamlessly reach new borders, opening and amplifying new business opportunities for the province of KwaZulu-Natal.”
Roy Kinnear, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles, said:
“The commencement of non-stop flights to the thriving city of Durban will establish a second air bridge between Seychelles and South Africa, complementing our five-per-week service to Johannesburg.
“The new service will provide business and leisure travellers who have trade ties to Seychelles or holiday on the islands with more travel choice and convenience.
“The Durban flight schedule will offer seamless connectivity options to Düsseldorf, Mumbai and onwards to nine codeshare destinations in India over Seychelles which will appeal to a broad range of travellers.
“As one of our strongest markets, we are happy to expand our presence in South Africa with new flights to Durban and increased seat capacity to Johannesburg, and are confident these air links will bring our countries closer and contribute to the development of our respective economies and tourism industries.”
In addition to strengthening air connections to South Africa, Air Seychelles plans to launch a two-per-week service to Düsseldorf in March 2017, upgrade its Paris service with an additional fourth weekly frequency, and substantially increase capacities on its regional network.
In order to support the fleet requirements of this expansion, the airline will take delivery of a second Airbus A330 which will be flown to Europe and used to upgrade selected regional flights currently operated on an A320 aircraft.
A330 aircraft will operate on Johannesburg on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Mauritius will be upgraded to the A330 on one return weekly flight on Saturdays, and Mumbai will operate on the A330 on Sundays. All three routes will continue to be operated on a five-a-week basis with the remaining flights operating on Airbus A320 aircraft.
In addition to its organic network, Air Seychelles has a codeshare agreement with South African Airways offering guests one-stop connections from Seychelles to Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban through Johannesburg.
The launch of Durban and Düsseldorf will expand Air Seychelles’ international network to nine destinations.