Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has announced the promotion of eight Seychellois Pilots to the rank of Captain of which four on its domestic operations and four on its international fleet.
First Officers on domestic fleet, Jean-Marc Barra, Graham Moncherry, Sylva Labrosse and Marvis Germain have been promoted to the rank of Captain after successfully completing a rigorous Command Upgrade Program including practical flights training on the Twin Otter aircraft which they are going to command. First Officers on international fleet, Allen Dubignon, Herve Morel, Kelvin Plows and Michael Robert have been promoted to the rank of Captain on the International fleet after successful completion of the in-house command upgrade training delivered by Air Seychelles.
The Captain were presented with their badges by the airline’s GM Operations, Sandy Benoiton during a ceremony held on Monday, 28 May at the Air Seychelles VIP Lounge in the presence of the airline’s management team and members of their families.
Sandy Benoiton, GM Operations of Air Seychelles said: “I am delighted to welcome the new commanders on board our fleet. I am very proud that for the first time in the near history we have had a 100% pass rate of First Officers to Captain rank on jet fleet.
“Reaching the rank of Captain requires hard work and dedication. Today I am pleased to congratulate Allen, Herve, Kelvin, Michel, Jean-Marc, Graham, Sylva and Marvis on achieving this proud milestone and for attaining the highest level of skills and knowledge in aviation.”
Captain Allen Dubignon, 39, lives in Beau Vallon and has been flying for Air Seychelles since 2009, said: “I am very proud to be standing here today, just two years after my first promotion to First Officer on the jet fleet. The training completed for the Captain rank was held in-house and it involved four months of training, split into simulator, ground training and about 400 hours of line flying under supervision. I look very much forward to flying the Air Seychelles A320 on the international network and hope to welcome you all on board.”
Captain Michael Robert, 34, lives in Anse Forbans, said: “I have been with the company for 11 years, since 2007. The journey from Twin Otter fleet, where I spent six and half years, to the Captain rank on the jet fleet has been an amazing adventure and an incredible life experience for me. The Captain training commenced in December 2017 and it was a very intense period till completion, but we all made it. I am so proud of our team achievement.”
Captain Kelvin Plows, 36, lives in Majoie, said: “The past 12 years with Air Seychelles have been a tremendous experience. As all my other colleagues, I have started my career on the Twin Otter fleet. Today I am proud to add the Captain title to my name. The training was a real eye opener, we learned a lot. Although, we all thought we knew it all, there were so many new things we discovered during the training that make us the Captains today. This was my dream and I worked very hard to achieve it. Everything is possible if one really wants it!”
Captain Herve Morel, 42, lives in Cascade, said: “I have been with the company since 2001 until 2005, when I joined Singapore Airlines, but my heart pulled me back to Air Seychelles where I returned in 2010. I served the airline as First Office on the jet fleet since and today, I am proud to say that I have reached my Captain rank with the national carrier. The training was demanding and challenging, but I enjoyed it a lot especially being trained by my Seychellois colleagues made the atmosphere very pleasant and the training easy to complete.”
Captain Moncherry, 24, lives in Au Cap and has been flying with Air Seychelles for over two years. He completed the School of Advanced Level Studies, before enrolling with the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces and later transitioned to the 43rd Air School in South Africa, where he completed his flying training. Captain Moncherry said: “It is every boy’s dream to become a pilot, but reaching the rank of captain is the greatest achievement. The command upgrade training was not easy, as the job comes with plenty of responsibilities, but I am happy that I concentrated on the training and made my dream possible. ”
Captain Germain, 35, from Beau Vallon joined Skyhawk Aviation a company which provides the highest standard of pilot training in South Africa upon completion of his studies at the Seychelles Polythecnic. He has spent more than two years working with the national airline since thecompletion of his training in South Africa. Captain Germain said: “After much sacrifice I feel that my dream has now become a reality. The training surpassed my expectations as a lot of emphasis was placed on the aspect of safety and in general I must say the local instructors conducted the sessions really well. I will continue to work with Air Seychelles to build on my experience as I am hoping to achieve much more in the future with the airline.”
Captain Barra, 31, residing in Montagne Posee previously worked at the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority for a period of seven years prior to completing the pilot course at the 43rd Air School in South Africa. Captain Barra said: “Following the command training, I now understand the responsibilities I have to discharge in my role as a captain. I have to ensure that I perform to the best of my abilities and remain professional at all times. I am also grateful for the support received from my fellow colleagues and today I am proud to have reached the rank of captain. I invested plenty of hard work and dedication in the training and I am now ready to embrace the challenges that awaits."
Captain Labrosse, 25, from Carana started his pilot training at the L3 Airline Academy in Sanford Florida where he graduated as a Commercial Multi-Engine Pilot before joining Simuflight, an internationally approved organization offering advanced simulator flight crew training in South Africa. Captain Labrosse said: “It is an amazing feeling knowing that I have reached my goal and dream but I must say it was not easy because like in everything we do, there are the good and bad days. Nonetheless I persevered in my studies and now I am able to see the fruits of my hard work especially knowing that moving forward one day I will get to fly the big jets which makes the experience much more exciting.”
Air Seychelles currently has 45 Seychellois pilots on the jet fleet, 21 First Officers and 24 Captains and 36 Seychellois pilots in its domestic operations comprising of 14 First Officers and 21 Captains. The Command Upgrade Program was held in-house by the Air Seychelles local Instructors.
About Air Seychelles
The Seychelles' national carrier was incorporated in 1977 and was formally named 'Air Seychelles' in 1978. The airline began long-haul operations in 1983 and continues to remain one of the tourism pillars contributing towards the island's strongest growing economic sector.
In 2021, Air Seychelles managed to retain the most coveted title of ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline’ at the World Travel Awards including, ‘Indian Ocean's Leading Airline - Business Class and Indian Ocean's Leading Cabin Crew . The airline also marked a historic milestone at the 28th edition of the World Travel Awards for having its premium lounge recognised for the first time ever as ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline Lounge 2021’.