Air Seychelles adds Tel Aviv flights with cake of the week extravaganza
Air Seychelles’ new Mahé to Tel Aviv service
On 27 October, Air Seychelles launched weekly services to Tel Aviv, alongside an interline agreement with El Al. Charles Johnson, Chief Commercial Officer at Air Seychelles, explained that “El Al already operated seasonal charter flights twice-annually to Mahé. We approached them because we felt we it could sustain a scheduled weekly year-round service with our A320neo.” El Al’s extensive European network is expected to provide a strong feed to the route.
Air Seychelles has removed widebodies
This comes as the airline reevaluated its long-haul strategy, removing the last widebodies from its fleet in 2018. Johnson revealed that Air Seychelles struggled to compete with the strong connecting traffic from some of the 15 carriers serving Mahé.
A short-haul niche achieved
On the short-haul side, the carrier has carved out a successful niche, with strong O&D and connecting demand from Johannesburg in particular. Johnson noted that “we have benefited from the growing demand for ‘Safari & Sand’ holidays. Customers spend time in South Africa on Safari, before heading for some relaxation on the Seychelles beaches”. The carrier uses this to its advantage on its regional Twin Otter network. This consists of scheduled flights to Praslin Island, seeing traffic split 50-50 between connecting tourism and local demand. These operate alongside charters and wet-leases in summer.
With a second A320neo coming, Air Seychelles has an opportunity to right-size its network with one of the most efficient narrowbodies. This will also partly mitigate the range-payload challenges caused by the airline’s nearest diversion field being two hours away from Mahé. It is also continually improving feeds from interline agreements with 25 airlines.
Where is next?
What will be their next route? Johnson hinted that they are “studying other leisure-focused Indian Ocean island destinations”. Within six hours of Mahe, this could include the Maldives, reinstatement of Madagascar flights or perhaps a Sri Lankan route.
Until restructuring is complete in ~2023, Air Seychelles’ fleet is not likely to grow further. However, it is assessing the A321XLR, which is already being ordered by the likes of United to boost long-and-thin route capacity, or those more in need of frequency.