Air Seychelles

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Air Seychelles
Air Seychelles logo.svg
Founded 1977
Hubs Seychelles International Airport
Frequent-flyer program Etihad Guest
Airport lounge Salon de Vallee de Mai (SEZ)
Fleet size 10
Destinations 10
Parent company Government of Seychelles (60%)
Headquarters Seychelles International Airport
Mahé, Seychelles
Key people
Revenue Increase US$ 88.7 million (2013)[3]
Profit Increase US$ 3 million (2013)[3]
Employees 629 (2013)[3]

Air Seychelles is the national airline of the Seychelles, with its head office on the property of Seychelles International Airport on the island of Mahé.[4] It operates inter-island services and international flights. Its main base is Seychelles International Airport. The airline is currently 40% owned by Etihad Airways.


An Air Seychelles Boeing 707-320C on short final to Paris Orly Airport in 1989.
Air Seychelles at Seychelles international Airport

The airline was established on 15 September 1977, following the merger of Air Mahé and Inter-Island Airways, as Seychelles Airlines and adopted the present title in September 1978. It started international routes in 1983 to Frankfurt and London. From 1978 until January 2012 the airline was wholly owned by the Seychelles government and as of February 2012 the United Arab Emirates's Etihad Airways bought a 40% share in the airline. Etihad Airways invested 45 million US Dollars in Air Seychelles at the time of the share purchase which left the Seychelles government with the remaining 60% ownership. Air Seychelles operated a fleet of Boeing 767s on its international network and offers two classes of service, Pearl Class (Business class) and Economy Class. Based at the Seychelles International Airport (SEZ), for many years until January 2012 it also operated a small hub at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris in a strategic alliance with Air France which served some former destinations (such as Manchester and Madrid). It is also the major ground handling agent for all aircraft operating at SEZ (Seychelles International Airport).

First Boeing 767[edit]

On 27 June 1989, Air Seychelles received its first Boeing 767 (Registration S7-AAS), a new Boeing 767-200ER,[5] which was leased from ILFC, that made its way to the Seychelles straight off the production line of Boeing. The aircraft landed at Seychelles International Airport after it had completed the longest non-stop flight for a twin-engine aircraft at the time, which began in Grand Rapids, USA on the 26 June.[citation needed] The flight lasted a total of 16 hours 49 minutes and 29 seconds[6] and covered a great circle distance of 14,311 km (8,893 miles).[5] This record was broken nearly a year later by the same type of aircraft on 10 June 1990.[7] This remarkable aircraft also had the landing gear of the 767-300 which allowed it to carry a full load of cargo, passengers and fuel without the limitations of the 767-200. Air Seychelles later returned the aircraft in April 2001 after 12 years in service.[8]


Air Seychelles planned to restructure and reposition itself to return to profit after running at a loss for two years in a row. The airline entered into codeshare agreements with Etihad Airways and started flying to Abu Dhabi in March 2012 to connect to Etihad's Airways extensive network of destinations after discontinuing all flights to Europe in January 2012. Passengers can now travel to Europe and beyond via Abu Dhabi from the Seychelles. Flights to China will start in January 2013 and other new destinations will follow soon after.

On March 16, 2012, Air Seychelles announced a two year business plan with the objective to improve the carrier’ position. The plan outlines the renewal of Air Seychelles fleet leveraging Etihad Airways equity partnership of which 40 per cent was acquired in February 2012.

Highlights of the plan include:

  • The introduction of Airbus A330-200 aircraft,
  • The launch of services to Beijing in early 2013, offering through connections to Johannesburg via the Seychelles,
  • Increased frequencies to key destinations,
  • Closer cooperation with Etihad Airways to identify economies of scale and synergies in staff training, procurement and product development,
  • Extended codeshare operations with Etihad Airways to connect the Seychelles, through Abu Dhabi, with a global network of passenger and cargo destinations.[9]

Air Seycelles announced improved financial performance for the first half of 2014 with total revenues increasing by 20% to $50m.[10]

New Corporate Livery[edit]

An Air Seychelles Boeing 767-300ER in the new livery. (2011)

In October 2011, after nearly 25 years in the traditional red, white and green local colours with two fairy terns (the Seychelles national bird), Air Seychelles painted its first Boeing 767-300ER aircraft in the company's new colours. The colours used on the tail end are blue, green, red and white.[11]

UK Operations[edit]

Throughout its operation in the United Kingdom, Air Seychelles has made more terminal changes than most major airlines at the London airports. For 20 years, it operated out of Gatwick Airport (South) until moving to Heathrow Terminal One in spring 2003, then on to Heathrow Terminal Two in 2005 as well as to Gatwick North terminal from 2009 to 2010 when it operated to both Gatwick and Heathrow airports. Finally, in November 2009 it moved to Heathrow Terminal Four until early 2012 when the London route was dropped. It also operated out of Manchester Airport (terminal two) in the late 1990s for nearly two years until focusing solely on London by the end of the 1990s.[12]


Air Seychelles flies to Abu Dhabi, Antananarivo, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Paris and Port Louis.

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Currently, Air Seychelles has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:


DHC-6 Twin Otter

The Air Seychelles fleet includes the following aircraft:[17]

Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
Airbus A320-200[18] 1 16 120 136 All leased from Etihad Airways
Airbus A330-200 2 18 236 254
DHC-6 Series 300 Twin Otter 3 0 19 19
DHC-6 Series 400 Twin Otter 3 1[19] 0 19 19
Short 360-300 [20] 1 3,500 kg
Total 10 1

After over two decades of an all Boeing fleet which over the years have included a large variety of Boeing 767, Boeing 757, Boeing 737 and the Boeing 707 in the early days, Air Seychelles introduced the Airbus A330 as part of its fleet from the summer of 2012 to serve its long haul destinations to include China from early 2013.[citation needed]


An Air Seychelles Boeing 737-700 on approach to Dubai International Airport in 2004.

Air Seychelles has previously operated these aircraft.[21][22][23]

Aircraft Number Notes
Airbus A300B4 1 Leased from Air France
Boeing 707-320 2 Leased from Varig
Boeing 727-200 1 Leased from Nationwide Airlines
Boeing 737-700NG 1 Both leased from ILFC
Boeing 757-200 1
Boeing 767-200EM 1 Leased from XL Airways UK
Boeing 767-200ER 3 All leased from ILFC
Boeing 767-300ER 9
Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander 2 Sold to IDC Aviation and Seychelles Coast Guard
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 2 Leased from British Caledonian and Martinair



Pearl class[edit]

Pearl Class is the name that has been used by the airline for its Business Class since the start of international operations in 1983. Seats are arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration with 82 inch pitch and can extend to a 65 degrees Lie-flat sleeping mode, with a 'privacy shell' around the seat.[24]

Economy plus[edit]

This was a temporary class of service on the Boeing 767-200 introduced for a brief period from December 2007 to September 2008. Seats in Economy Plus were wider and have more legroom than seats in Economy Class, they were offered on routes with less than an 8 hour flying time which Air Seychelles classed as regional flights such as Bangkok, Johannesburg, Mauritius and Singapore. After returning a leased Boeing 767-200EM in September 2008, the airline discontinued offering an Economy Plus cabin and reverted to its traditional Pearl and Economy class service on all of its Boeing aircraft.

Economy class[edit]

Economy Class seats are arranged in a 2-4-2 manner, with a seat pitch between 32 and 33 inches. These seats have an adjustable headrest and footrest.[25]

Air France alliance[edit]

From 1997 to 2012 Air Seychelles and Air France formed a strategic codeshare agreement which saw Air Seychelles operating flights on behalf of Air France from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport to the Seychelles and vice versa. The arrangement were such that passengers could travel on Air Seychelles and connect to any Air France flight throughout Europe and beyond at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. The seats were shared amongst both airlines and each company remained responsible for the commercialisation of its capacity. Air Seychelles disclosed in 2009 that newer terms and conditions of the agreement was aimed at improving the route economics for Air Seychelles, thanks to a new balance between seat price, capacity share and fuel costs adjustment mechanism between the two airlines.[26]

Charter services[edit]

UK Ministry of Defence[edit]

[27] Air Seychelles announced in January 2010 that it had begun operations to the Falklands as part of a contract with the Ministry of Defence. Air Seychelles successfully bid for it after the ministry had to seek a replacement for the previous operator, which went bankrupt. Several other airlines also bid for the contract, but Air Seychelles was successful due to its experience of flying 767s and of island locations.

One of the airline's five 767s, a Boeing 767-300ER, was to have been permanently based in the UK to fly the twice-weekly service to Ascension and onwards to the Falklands. Crews were positioned in Ascension and the UK.

Air Seychelles ended its contract in the third quarter of 2011 with the UK Ministry of Defence to provide service from RAF Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire, England, to RAF Ascension Island and then on to RAF Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic. The contract was to provide the only scheduled air link, commonly known as the South Atlantic air bridge, from mainland UK to Ascension and the Falklands.

British charter Airline Titan Airways has now taken over the contract for twelve months to commence on 4 September.[28]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Cathy Buyck (2 February 2012). "Air Seychelles appoints former Etihad exec as CEO". Air Transport World. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Air Seychelles posts second consecutive year of net profitability". Air Seychelles. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Offices & GSAs head Office." Air Seychelles. Retrieved on 29 January 2011 "Head Office Air Seychelles Ltd Head Office International Airport P.O.Box 386 Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles."
  5. ^ a b "June 1989 news". Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ [2][dead link]
  8. ^ "2001 news". Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  9. ^ "Air Seychelles to Leverage Etihad Airways Partnership in its Two Year Business Plan". 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  10. ^ Airliner World: 13. December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Press Releases from". Air Seychelles. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  12. ^ "Our History". Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  13. ^ "Air Seychelles inks pact - Yahoo! News Maktoob". 2013-02-16. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  14. ^ Paylor, Anne (6 August 2014). "Air Seychelles to codeshare with Alitalia via Abu Dhabi". Air Transport World. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Air seychelles and hong kong airlines sign codeshare agreement". Air Seychelles. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Location Settings (2013-04-25). "SAA and Air Seychelles sign codeshare". News24. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  17. ^ "Our Fleet". Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  18. ^ "Air Seychelles celebrates arrival of new Airbus A320". 2014-11-30. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Encyclopedia of African airlines - Google Books". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  22. ^ "Our History". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  23. ^ "Seychelles Annual Report 2007-2008". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  24. ^ "Air Seychelles Business Class". Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  25. ^ "Air Seychelles Economy Class". Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  26. ^ "Aviation & Allied Business Journal - Air Seychelles, Air France Renew Agreement To Boost Tourism In Seychelles". 2011-08-12. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  27. ^ "Breaking News – Air Seychelles gets UK MoD contract for Falklands renewed | Wolfganghthome's Blog". 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 
  28. ^ "Falklands Air Bridge". 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2013-07-04. 

External links[edit]