Seychelles International Airport
|Seychelles International Airport
Aéroport de la Pointe Larue
|Airport type||Public / Military|
|Operator||Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority|
|Hub for||Air Seychelles|
|Elevation AMSL||10 ft / 3 m|
Seychelles International Airport (IATA: SEZ, ICAO: FSIA), or Aéroport de la Pointe Larue in French, is the international airport of the Seychelles located on the island of Mahé near the capital city of Victoria. The airport is the home base and the head office of Air Seychelles and features several regional and long-haul routes due to its importance as an international leisure destination.
The airport is 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) southeast of the capital and is accessible by the Victoria-Providence Highway. It forms part of the administrative districts of La Pointe Larue (terminal area), Cascade/Providence (in the North), and Anse aux Pins (in the south and military base).
The domestic terminal is a short distance north of the international terminal and offers inter-island flights with a peak of a departure every 10–15 minutes at busy times which corresponds with international arrivals/departures and every 30 minutes at other times. A cargo terminal is south of the international terminal and handles freight from all international and domestic movements; it is run by Air Seychelles.
A base of the Seychelles Public Defence Force (SPDF) is at the southeastern end of Runway 13 on an island that was joined with Mahé at the construction of the airport.
The opening of the Seychelles International Airport took place on 20 March 1972 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Wilkenair of Kenya had, however, already started a ferry service between Mombasa and Mahé via Diego Suarez in Madagascar and Astove Island (Seychelles) using a twin engine Piper Navajo the previous year. It operated to the Seychelles once a week.
It was followed by East African Airways in November 1971 and Luxair in December of the same year. A BOAC Super VC10 was the first jet aircraft to land at Seychelles International Airport on 4 July 1971. At the time of the opening it had a 2987 m runway and a control tower. Ground handling and all other airport operations were carried out by the DCA (Directorate of Civil Aviation).
In 1972 John Faulkner Taylor founded the first local aircraft company Air Mahé, which operated a Piper PA-34 Seneca between Praslin, Fregate, and Mahé Islands. This aircraft was later replaced by a Britten-Norman Islander. By 1974, over 30 airlines were flying to the Seychelles. Ground handling and all airport operations were being carried out by Aviation Seychelles Company, a company formed in 1973.
Construction works for the substantial expansion of the airport started in July 1980. Due to the continuous increase in passenger traffic, a terminal building was built that could cater for 400 more arriving and 400 more departing passengers at any time. Parking bays for up to six large aircraft were built and a parking area for five light aircraft.
In 1981 there was a gun battle at Seychelles International Airport, as Irishman Mike Hoare led a team of 43 South African mercenaries masquerading as holidaying Rugby players in a coup attempt in what is known as the Seychelles affair. After their hidden weapons were discovered on arrival a skirmish ensued, with most of the mercenaries later escaping in a hijacked Air India jet.
Development since the 2000s
The years 2005/2006 brought further development of civil aviation in the Seychelles. The Civil Aviation Authority Act was enacted on 4 April 2006 for the corporatisation of the Directorate of Civil Aviation to Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority. Works started to upgrade and extend the terminal building, which has been further extended to handle at least five medium to large jet aircraft (e.g., Boeing 767 or Airbus A330) as well as six smaller jet aircraft (e.g. Boeing 737 or Airbus A320).
Additional parking areas were made available to the north-east of the airport to handle the parking of charter, business, and long stay aircraft (e.g. some European flights arrive in the morning from 7 a.m. but do not depart until 10 p.m. onwards. This reduces jet-lag as any flight that leaves Seychelles at night will get to most Western European cities in the early morning and vice versa from the European cities to the Seychelles; it also provides sufficient rest for operating crew.
The airport has been home to unmanned aerial vehicles operated by the United States Air Force and possibly the Central Intelligence Agency for operations over Somalia and the Horn of Africa. President of Seychelles James Michel apparently welcomed the presence of U.S. drones in Seychelles to combat Somalian piracy and terrorism, dating back to at least August 2009. At least two MQ-9 Reaper UAVs have crashed into the Indian Ocean near the airport since December 2011.
Airlines and destinations
|Air Austral||Saint–Denis de la Réunion|
|Air Seychelles||Abu Dhabi, Antananarivo, Johannesburg–O. R. Tambo, Mauritius, Mumbai, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Praslin Island
Charter: Alphonse Island, Bird Island, D'Arros Island, Denis Island, Desroches Island, Frégate Island
|Arkia||Seasonal: Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion|
|Austrian Airlines||Seasonal: Vienna (begins 25 October 2017)|
|British Airways||Seasonal: London-Heathrow (begins 24 March 2018)|
|Ethiopian Airlines||Addis Ababa|
|Etihad Airways||Abu Dhabi|
|Kenya Airways||Nairobi–Jomo Kenyatta|
operated by El Al
|Seasonal: Tel Aviv–Ben Gurion|
There is frequent service to the bus station in Victoria, with taxi ranks outside the terminal available to all locations on Mahé Island. Several tour operators' coach services also link passengers to the ferry terminal at the Old Port (Vieux port) for inter-island ferry services and to the New Port (Nouveau port) for cruise holidays.
There is plan to link the airport with a light railway/tram system that will run along the east coast of Mahé island due to the high transportation density of this area. Companies were invited to tender in 2007 by the government.
- WorldAeroData - FSIA
- Google Maps - Seychelles International Airport
- Seychelles in Figures - 2015
- "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."
- Seychelles NDB
- Seychelles VOR
- Seychelles-Lifes a breeze near the equator The Telegraph, U.K.
- Zenko, Micah (27 March 2012). "We Can't Drone Our Way to Victory in Afghanistan". Foreign Policy.
- Thande, George (4 April 2012). "Drone crashes in Seychelles, second in four months". Reuters. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- "US Drone Crashes on Seychelles Runway". ABC News. 4 April 2012. Archived from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- "Secret bases mark step-up in War on Terror". UPI. 22 September 2011.
- "Austrian Airlines Flies to the Seychelles". Aviation Tribune. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
- "British Airways set to launch non-stop flights to the Seychelles from the UK". Sunday Post. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
- "Turkish Airlines Adds Seychelles Service from late-Oct 2016". airlineroute. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- Seychelles In Figures 2012-2013
- " 2012
- " 2011
- " 2010
- " 2009
- " 2008
- " 2007
Media related to Seychelles International Airport at Wikimedia Commons