Air Seychelles’ first charter flight from Bucharest a promising start |03 May 2021
Local airline Air Seychelles welcomed its first charter flight from Bucharest on Friday morning, establishing a direct link between Romania and Seychelles.
Flight HM9353 landed at the Seychelles International Airport with 162 passengers onboard at 9.50am under the command of Captain Kelvin Plows and First Officer Ashley Confait.
The visitors from Romania will stay in Seychelles for nine nights at the two Constance hotels, Ephelia on Mahe and Lemuria on Praslin. Their holiday is being handled by local destination management company, 7 Degrees South.
A total of 37 passengers departed on the first positioning flight from Seychelles to Henri Coandă International Airport in Bucharest on Thursday April 29, 2021. The non-stop flight operated by Air Seychelles’ A320neo jetliner ‘Pti Merl Dezil’ proceeded over eight hours.
Upon disembarkation from the aircraft, passengers were greeted by a group of government, airport, tourism and trade representatives including a troupe of traditional Seychellois musicians in the arrival hall of the airport, courtesy of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB).
Present to witness the passengers disembark on the tarmac were chief executive of Air Seychelles Remco Althuis, chief executive of Seychelles Tourism Board Sherin Francis and managing director of 7 Degrees South Anna Butler-Payette.
“We are thrilled to now be linking Bucharest with Seychelles for the first time, again fulfilling on our mandate to increase tourism to Seychelles," said Air Seychelles' chief executive Remco Althuis.
“It is crucially important that Seychelles sees a rapid increase in visitors and we have seen demands in new market since the original source market for Seychelles ‒ France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy ‒ is still somewhat low because of the Covid-19 situation there.”
“Romania, in addition to what you have seen from Russia, is a new source market for Seychelles that we have been able, through cooperation with 7 Degrees South and Seychelles Tourism Board, to develop very quickly and in a short timeframe to ensure that Seychelles gets hundreds of new visitors coming to our shores,” he further explained.
Air Seychelles has three additional charter flights from Romania to Seychelles planned for this month and the airline has also been requested to operate more flights in August and December.
There are presently no plans to put this destination on Air Seychelles’ scheduled flight plans.
After over a year of financial difficulties due to the global pandemic, Friday’s first charter flight from Bucharest is a promising start for Air Seychelles as it seeks to increase its number of charter flights and connections to countries in East Europe and Central Asia.
“Based on the success we have seen so far with this market, we anticipate more of these charters later in the year. As Air Seychelles is also constantly exploring new potential source markets, we look forward to announcing additional destinations in the near future,” noted CEO Althuis.
On her part, Mrs Francis said t is more important, now more than ever, to diversify from our traditional tourism markets, noting that STB has noticed a pent up demand from the eastern European countries to travel to Seychelles since last year.
“Air connectivity is crucial to help us convert those demands into sales of holidays to Seychelles. Thanks to Air Seychelles, we have managed to tap into this opportunity and we hope to be able to grow the business further from other countries of the same region together with our national airline,” she added.
STB, and then the tourism department once the board is dissolved, will continue to monitor the situations in different countries to ensure that travelers know of and can access Seychelles, especially since Seychelles can boast of being one of the first countries to fully reopen its borders to the world without much fuss for entry.
Mrs Butler-Payette explained that 7 Degrees South and its partners in Romania have regularly arranged for visitors from Romania to visit Seychelles throughout the last 12 years, but this is the very first time that arrangements were made for a charter flight.
“I think it was a very good opportunity for everyone in Seychelles, not only 7 Degrees South,” noted Mrs Butler-Payette.
“Passengers from this initial charter flight will be travelling to Mahe and Praslin but those coming onboard the next flights will also travel to some other islands in Seychelles, so we really hope everyone gets to benefit from it.”
Discussions are underway for similar plans for travelers from the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan.