Air Seychelles and Air France have signed a landmark codeshare agreement to provide travellers with enhanced connections between France, wider Europe and Seychelles.
The agreement was signed by Air Seychelles’ chief executive Roy Kinnear and the chairman and chief executive of Air France Frédéric Gagey.
It follows the establishment of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two airlines in April 2015.
The partnership will see Air Seychelles place its ‘HM’ flight code on Air France’s domestic flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and six of the largest cities in France: Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nice and Toulouse.
In addition, the ‘HM’ code will appear on Air France’s European services between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Athens, Berlin, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Manchester, Munich and Zurich. Altogether, Air Seychelles will codeshare on 157 weekly domestic and regional flights.
This, combined with its codeshare service over Abu Dhabi with its partner Etihad Airways, provides unparalleled global access to Seychelles.
Air France will, in turn, codeshare on Air Seychelles’ three-per-week non-stop service between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Seychelles, and on domestic flights between Mahé and Praslin, the second-biggest island in the archipelago and the home of the famous Vallée de Mai nature reserve.
In total, the French flag carrier will see its ‘AF’ code appear on 18 weekly flights operated by Air Seychelles.
Air Seychelles commenced a three-per-week, non-stop service between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Seychelles in July 2015, replacing a twice-weekly service via Abu Dhabi. The flights are operated on an Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a twin-cabin configuration, with 18 Business Class and 236 Economy Class seats.
Codeshare flights can now be booked, for travel from August 21, 2015.
Joël Morgan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport and chairman of Air Seychelles, said: “This agreement is the start of a fresh chapter of cooperation not only between Air Seychelles and Air France, but between our two countries, which have deep-rooted cultural, economic and historical connections.
“It comes in the wake of a bilateral meeting in December 2014 between President James Michel and President François Hollande, who agreed that enhanced air access was essential to moving our relationship forward. We have achieved this by launching non-stop flights to Paris and through this exciting new partnership with Air France.
“The Seychelles economy is strongly driven by the tourism industry, and France, along with Germany, Italy and the UK, represents a very important market. In the first half of 2015 alone, some 18,653 travellers from France visited our paradisiacal islands, 10 per cent more than in the same period last year. We are confident that, through the new air links we now offer on our combined network with Air France, this growth will continue.”
Mr Gagey said: “Air France welcomes this partnership with Air Seychelles, which provides our customers with new travel opportunities to the popular island group and underlines our commitment to strengthening air connectivity in the Indian Ocean region.
“We look forward to building on this agreement to provide our customers with even more travel benefits, and at the same time to strengthen our respective business operations.”
Mr Kinnear added: “We are pleased to sign this major codeshare agreement with Air France, which we consider a valued partner in our network development strategy for France and neighbouring Europe.
“With this agreement it is now possible to travel from six of the biggest French cities to Seychelles via Paris, using just one ticket for the entire trip. These cities have a population of 2.66 million people, with millions more in the surrounding catchment area, and strong travel demand for flights to the Seychelles.
“The partnership also covers flights to nine European destinations outside France, including points in Germany and the United Kingdom, which are in the top five of our largest markets for inbound tourism.
“We look forward to strengthening our cooperation in subsequent phases, through lounge access and cargo cooperation. Two-way trade between Seychelles and France totalled US $229 million in 2014, and, with 60 tonnes of weekly bellyhold capacity on our Paris-Charles de Gaulle service, there are opportunities for growth.”