Air Seychelles, the national carrier of the Republic of Seychelles, announced a third consecutive year of profitability after recording a net profit of US$3.2m for 2014.
The result exceeds last year’s profit of US$3 million and reflects continued improvement in the airline’s key performance indicators, following Etihad Airways’ acquisition of a 40 per cent share in 2012 and the implementation of a turnaround plan to create a sustainable business.
As a result of significant network growth in 2014, total revenue increased by 20 per cent to US$106.9 million, compared with US$88.7 million in 2013. Passenger revenue accounts for US$81 million– up from US$66 million in 2013.
Cargo tonnage for the same period rose strongly by 34 per cent to 7,311 tonnes, up from 5,441 tonnes in 2013.
Joël Morgan, Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport and Air Seychelles Board Chairman, said: “The continued strengthening of the business is very pleasing and is a result of an effective management team, committed workforce, and a strong and trusted partnership with Etihad Airways.
“Air Seychelles is delivering for the economy and people of Seychelles through employment, tourism, trade and a substantial increase in the awareness of Seychelles’ brand in Africa, Europe and Asia.
“With further significant financial support from its shareholders, we hope Air Seychelles can announce a further expansion of its network in its key markets as well as new markets in 2015, thereby increasing its economic contribution to Seychelles.
“The airline currently employs more than 650 Seychellois in an environment where commitment and performance are recognised, and where training and development is of the highest international standards.
“The Government supports Air Seychelles’ strategy to operate a commercially sustainable and profitable airline by developing a strong and connected network, which meets the demand of both business and leisure travellers.
Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles, Manoj Papa, said: “Our increased profit figure is the result of higher revenue, greater productivity and an ongoing focus on costs.
“While the competitive environment remains challenging, these results show we are progressively consolidating and building on our achievements.
“Our strategy is to use Seychelles’ unique position in the Indian Ocean to capture the strong travel flows between East Africa, the Western Indian Ocean, the UAE and the Indian Subcontinent. For example, the strong growth in passenger numbers from Mumbai to other destinations on our network shows this approach is working.
Air Seychelles’ network is also growing through codeshares and the airline now has codeshare agreements with five international partners giving travellers access to 45 destinations across 28 countries on five continents, with more planned.
The airline’s codeshare partners include Etihad Airways, South African Airways, airberlin, Alitalia and Hong Kong Airlines, which feed traffic onto Air Seychelles’ network while providing greater convenience and choice for travellers. During the year, Air Seychelles signed two new codeshare agreements – with Alitalia to Rome and Venice, and Hong Kong Airlines to Bangkok.
In October 2014, Air Seychelles became one of the founding members of Etihad Airways Partners, a group of airlines, which provides many benefits of commercial collaboration, including resource sharing and joint procurement, enhanced network and schedule connectivity, and greater benefits for frequent flyers through integrated loyalty programs.
During 2014 Available Seat Kilometres increased by 27 per cent following the delivery of an Airbus A320, ‘Amirantes’ and two DHC-6 Twin Otters, to complement the Airbus A330-200 which flies the long-haul routes to Paris and Hong Kong via Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg.
“These leased aircraft were made possible because of the relationship with Etihad Airways. They are modern, quiet and comfortable and are the minimum standard necessary if we are to compete effectively in the African, Asian and European markets and maximise the value of the network we are building,” Mr Papa said.
The investment in product and service is paying off and in 2014 Air Seychelles was recognised with the award for the Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline – Business Class and separately for its Cabin Crew by World Travel Awards.
Setting high standards through ongoing training and development is a defining feature of Air Seychelles as its reputation as an employer of choice grows in the country.
In line with this commitment, Air Seychelles introduced a Graduate Management Development Program two years ago and now has 14 Seychellois graduate managers. The program is run in Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways and supervised by Air Seychelles. It includes formal training and enables graduate managers to work in many different areas of Etihad Airways.
Cabin Crew also benefit from world-class safety and service training at the Etihad Airways Training Academy in Abu Dhabi, alongside crew from Etihad Airways partner airlines around the world.
“The first group of graduates has returned to Air Seychelles with new skills and experiences and they have now taken up roles as managers in our rapidly evolving organisation where they are making an important contribution.
“The graduate program is a tangible benefit of our partnership with Etihad Airways and demonstrates our commitment to bringing opportunities to Seychellois,” Mr Papa said.
“I am very confident in the future of Air Seychelles; we have a committed team, we are building the long term capability of the Seychellois workforce and we have the strong support of our shareholders, the Government of the Republic of Seychelles and Etihad Airways.”