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AfricaMoney | October 18, 2017

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Mauritius & Seychelles buy new Airbus aircraft to enhance air experience

Mauritius & Seychelles buy new Airbus aircraft to enhance air experience

In addition, Air Seychelles will revise schedules for routes to and from Mauritius as from December, operating morning departures on Monday, Friday and Saturday, with the Saturday service on the larger Airbus A330-200 aircraft providing additional 29% seat capacity. (Image: Zahir Hatteea)

Vanilla islands have long suffered the scourge of limited air connectivity leading to exorbitant ticket prices but the national carriers of Mauritius and Seychelles are now set to enhance passenger experience and comfort with new Airbus aircraft acquisitions.

So, while Air Mauritius has decided to replace its existing fleet of A340-300s with six new generation Airbus A350-900 aircraft, Air Seychelles has announced that it will take delivery of its first Airbus A320 aircraft in December 2014.

The major decision taken by Air Mauritius to purchase new Airbus aircraft is Step 5 of the 7-Step Recovery and Sustainability plan to re-fleet the national carrier.

This historical decision follows a series of recent achievements by Air Mauritius covering a return to profitability in 2013/2014, achieving 4-STAR Skytrax rating and being voted the leading airline in the Indian Ocean at the World Travel Awards for nine consecutive years.

With the A350-900, besides enhancing passenger experience and comfort, operating cost efficiency as well as technological innovation will also accrue.

According to Dass Thomas, CEO, Air Mauritius, the purchase of these new aircrafts to be used as from 2017 as a replacement of A340 is not the result of a hasty decision.

Indeed, this exercise began almost two years ago and Air Mauritius obtained the support of its majority shareholder, the government.

The rationale behind the decision to renew its fleet is that the A340 currently in service for Air Mauritius dates back more than 19 years.

It may be noted that the first two A350-900 planes will be delivered in 2017 through operating leases from AerCap Holdings and the remaining four will be purchased from Airbus, with two aircraft to be delivered in 2019 and the remaining two in 2020.

Moreover, Air Seychelles announced that it would obtain its first Airbus A320 aircraft in December 2014, indicating significant enhancements to its international flight schedule at the same time.

The changes will take effect on 1st December and, in addition, Air Seychelles will increase its weekly flight frequency between Seychelles and Abu Dhabi, enhance capacity on flights to Mauritius, and revise schedules for routes to and from Johannesburg, Mauritius, and Paris.

“The addition of a two-cabin Airbus A320 aircraft to our fleet, configured with 16 seats in Business Class and 120 in Economy Class, forms an essential component of our plan to establish Air Seychelles as the carrier of choice in the Indian Ocean region,” said Manoj Papa, CEO, Air Seychelles.

Manoj Papa added that he is pleased that there will be an increased capacity on Mauritius route, which will provide their guests with more flexible travel options.

Mauritius services will move to a morning departure from Seychelles as from December and will operate on Monday, Friday and Saturday, with the Saturday service flown by the island carrier’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft, providing an additional 29% seat capacity.

He concluded that the aircraft under wet lease from partner Etihad Airways will allow Air Seychelles to extend the depth and breadth of its network, increase its regional brand presence, and crucially deliver more revenue which will be used to further develop Air Seychelles’ expanding services.

Air Seychelles is looking forward to increase its connectivity to key markets important for Seychelles tourism in Asia such as Beijing, Chennai, Delhi, Riyadh, and Tokyo, as well as in traditional and emerging European markets including Rome, Moscow and Paris as its international network continues to perform well.

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