Seychelles International Airways to launch cargo-only flights from Sep 10
Seychelles International Airways is planning to launch on September 10, initially chartering an A340-600 for cargo-only flights before moving to passenger operations, according to the Seychelles News Agency.
"We will not be focusing on passenger flights at the moment unless there is a demand or a chartered flight, which will follow all procedures of the health department. We are focusing on bringing cargo into the country as we feel and have evidence that Seychelles needs cargo," said the airline’s chief executive Robert Marie.
In the long term, the airline plans to grow long-haul passenger operations out of Mahé. Marie named Frankfurt International Airport as a potential destination, although he suggested that the carrier would seek to operate a hub-and-spoke model via Mahé rather than exclusive point-to-point services to and from the Seychelles. Marie did not provide any timeline but said that these plans would be put in place only after the Covid-19 pandemic subsides.
Seychelles International Airways, which is wholly-privately-owned and is backed by $20-50 million from undisclosed foreign and domestic investors, sees this market niche as attractive given that flag carrier Air Seychelles no longer operates any widebody aircraft. The airline's medium-haul flights to Mumbai International Airport and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion, both currently suspended, are normally operated by its two A320-200Ns. Air Seychelles has been mulling the addition of A321-200NX(LR)s for proposed services to Perth International Airport.
The initial plan of Seychelles International Airways was intercontinental, long-haul flights. These operations are now expected to start post Covid-19. Marie outlined that "since Air Seychelles is not doing long-haul, I don't see any competition with regards to that apart from other carriers coming in."
"As our base will be here in Seychelles, it will serve as a hub. To develop the hub, as an example, we can fly out to Frankfurt, Germany and pick up passengers there and bring them to Seychelles and from Seychelles to another destination," he said.