After a little over four hours in the air, Air Seychelles’ new Airbus A320 touched down in Mumbai as the national airline made its return to India.
Air Seychelles has recently introduced direct flights to various destinations and on Tuesday evening it launched its flight out to Mumbai, India in a short ceremony at the Seychelles International Airport VIP Lounge in the presence of Air Seychelles’ chief executive Manoj Papa and Indian high commissioner to Seychelles Sanjay Panda.
The plane touched down at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai at around 3am and was greeted by a water canon salute and applause from the passengers who had each received certificates from Mr Papa during the flight.
The Seychelles delegation, which also featured Seychelles Tourism Board chief executive Sherin Naiken along with Air Seychelles marketing staff and cabin crew, were greeted at the Palladium Hotel in Mumbai, where a press conference was organised yesterday morning to announce the arrival of Air Seychelles to the Indian city.
Mr Papa explained that this was an incredible occasion for Air Seychelles, as it shows tremendous growth of the airline.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), we launched our operations in Dar es Salaam and today (Wednesday) as we speak, we are launching into Madagascar. This makes it the fastest growth the airline has seen,” added Mr Papa before going on to give the guests a brief history of the airline.
For those who might remember, Air Seychelles’ previous venture to India about three years ago featured a stop in the Maldives and the concerns were as to whether a direct flight will appeal to the Indian population now as last year only around 2,000 Indians visited Seychelles.
Ms Naiken responded by saying the STB is making progress to tap into the Indian tourism market and this flight will help promote Seychelles as a tourism destination for Indian travellers.
There were also concerns about the long-term commitment of Air Seychelles to this venture, Ms Naiken said now that the STB has a permanent base in Mumbai it will therefore allow for a better link between Seychelles and India, which will in turn benefit Air Seychelles.
Mr Papa, on his part, said Air Seychelles is a much changed airline now and thus it expects to make full use of this venture and hopefully stay in operation in Mumbai for a long time.
Air Seychelles has only recently acquired its new Airbus A320 and has added it to its fleet of two Airbus A330s and according to its CEO, this shows how far the airline has come since it reinvented itself with the support of its partner Etihad Airways.
Air Seychelles will fly to Mumbai on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8.45pm and it will leave Mumbai for Seychelles on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.