Air Seychelles has officially welcomed the newest member of its domestic fleet, a DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft, to Seychelles.
The iconic turboprop aircraft, named “Isle of Denis” after a small coral island lying 95 km northeast of Mahé, was recently delivered from Canada and is the sixth Twin Otter aircraft in the fleet. A large delegation headed by Danny Faure, Vice President of Seychelles, assembled at Seychelles International Airport this afternoon to witness the arrival of the aircraft, where it was greeted by a ceremonial water cannon salute.
Joël Morgan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Transport and Chairman of Air Seychelles, said: “The arrival of a new Twin Otter aircraft marks a proud moment for Air Seychelles, which is continuing to invest in the future of the airline, its people and the country of Seychelles. “These much-loved aircraft have connected our islands since the 1980s, offering international visitors and local commuters alike a flying experience that is highly convenient but also memorable, with unforgettable views of our islands.
“With better technology for pilots and improved onboard comfort for guests, this aircraft is a logical investment choice that will continue to pay dividends to Air Seychelles for many years to come.” Registered under the Seychelles civil aircraft register as S7-DNS, “Isle of Denis” has 19-seats and will operate scheduled interisland services between Mahé and Praslin, as well as charter flights to other islands in the archipelago, including Bird, Desroches, Frégate and its namesake, Denis, which is a short 25 minutes flight away.
Roy Kinnear, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles said, “We are delighted to welcome a new Twin Otter aircraft into our fleet, which rounds off several recent developments aimed at strengthening our domestic operation.“Changes were made to the pricing structure that features lower air fares and increased frequencies of domestic flights between Mahé and Praslin to 178 a week.
“By doing this we are making interisland travel more convenient both for the people of Seychelles and international visitors to these islands, many of whom fly to Mahé with the goal of also seeing other islands on their trip.“With passenger numbers on the increase, strong future bookings from guests of Air Seychelles and other international airlines, and solid demand for charter flights, this is the right time for us to renew the fleet with ‘Isle of Denise’.”
“Isle of Denis” is the final of three DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft to be delivered to Air Seychelles as part of an order placed with Viking Air Limited in 2013. The first two aircraft joined the fleet in 2014, one year ahead of schedule.The aircraft’s long journey from Canada to Seychelles, which covered a total distance of more than 16,770km, was recounted this morning by Captain Mervin Mondon, Chief Pilot Turboprop Fleet, who said that the aircraft is ideal for the flying conditions in Seychelles and will freshen the day to day domestic operations.
The flight path began in Calgary, Canada, where “Isle of Denis” was outfitted with larger fuel tanks to increase its range, before moving through Europe and Africa, where the aircraft made refuelling stops at seven airports. The longest leg of the journey was the penultimate sector between Aswan, Egypt and Nairobi, Kenya, which spanned 2,950km and took approximately 10 hours.
Mr Kinnear added: “The Twin Otters are tried and tested aircraft that are perfect for our island hopping flights.“They are capable of landing and taking off from short island airstrips, operate well in the saline, humid environment of the tropics and are good at handling the challenging weather conditions of Seychelles.
“With such characteristics, it is easy to see what makes them popular with our pilots, who have the opportunity of gaining valuable flying experience with the Twin Otter fleet before transitioning to our international jet fleet operations.”Air Seychelles currently has 24 Seychellois pilots flying turboprop aircraft on domestic routes.