Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, announced that it has entered into a codeshare agreement with South African Airways, the national airline of the Republic of South Africa.
The first phase of the agreement will see South African Airways place its “SA” code on Air Seychelles’ non-stop flights between Johannesburg and Seychelles. South African Airways will also place its code on flights between the two largest islands of Seychelles, Mahé and Praslin, subject to approvals.
Subsequent to the launch of the partnership between Air Seychelles and SAA, the airlines will look into expanding the agreement to include Air Seychelles placing its ‘HM’ code on South African Airways’ non-stop flights between Johannesburg and destinations across South Africa.
The deal follows a strategic move by Air Seychelles to increase its connectivity throughout South Africa and continental Africa.
In March 2013, Air Seychelles introduced an enhanced schedule and additional weekly service on its Johannesburg route, bringing the flights to three return services per week with daytime departures and arrivals. The new schedule greatly enhances leisure and business travelers’ ability to connect seamlessly on both airlines across Africa and South Africa, particularly to Cape Town and Durban.
Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our flights to Johannesburg have been incredibly successful, reflecting an increasing number of travellers coming out of South Africa to the Seychelles for leisure, business and sport. Traffic from South Africa has grown at a steady pace of 11 per cent each year for the past decade. In the first quarter of this year alone, traffic is up 13 per cent.
“With this codeshare agreement, guests will be able to purchase flights from South African Airways destinations onwards to the Seychelles on one ticket, making for a simpler and seamless journey.
“We have also established a foundation for twin-centre tourism products which combine a safari in Africa with a Seychelles beach holiday. SAA Holidays will also be adding Seychelles to their holiday program, providing a new channel for selling travel to our island nation and supporting the vitally important tourism industry.”
Manoj Papa, South African Airways General Manager Commercial, said: “This partnership signals a strategic move by both airlines to increase connectivity and grow their networks. This also augments SAA’s already extensive African footprint. SAA currently flies directly to 26 destinations across Africa from its Johannesburg hub. Furthermore, the partnership adds breadth to our network, incorporating two additional destinations to the existing global partnership network which provides in excess of 1329 destinations in 194 countries globally.With strategic partnerships such as this one SAA is able to provide its passengers with more connectionson the continent and across the globe.”
Joël Morgan, Air Seychelles’ Chairman and Seychelles’ Minister for Home Affairs & Transport, said: “This partnership between flag carriers strengthens the historic commercial, political and cultural ties between the two countries. South Africa is a top trade partner for Seychelles and we have seen a growing number of South African nationals coming for visits to our islands.
“I’m delighted to establish this official partnership with South African Airways following a year of great change and achievement for our national carrier, particularly as 2013 marks 20 years of service to Johannesburg.”
Subject to regulatory approval, the airlines plan to expand the scope of this agreement to include frequent flyer program reciprocity and more codeshare destinations on their respective networks.
Seychelles and South Africa established formal relations in 1993. Today, South Africa is Seychelles’ strongest African partner. Not only do the two countries share many mutual interests, but also have a strong bilateral partnership over and above their engagement with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union. South Africa is also supporting Seychelles in combating piracy and in its efforts to bring peace and stability in the region.