Air Seychelles has taken delivery of two new DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft from Viking Air Limited of Canada.
The new aircraft will be used for services between Mahé and Praslin, as well as other islands in the Seychelles archipelago, including Bird, Denis and Frégate.
Named ‘Isle of Bird’ and ‘Isle of La Digue,’ both aircraft have already left the manufacturer in British Columbia en route for Mahé Island, Seychelles.
Both aircraft will stop at several airports in Canada, Europe and Africa on their way to Seychelles, with Isle of La Digue on display at this week’s Farnborough Airshow in the United Kingdom.
The aircraft was officially delivered today to Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer, Manoj Papa by the Chief Executive Officer of Viking Air, David C. Curtis.
Mr Papa said: “As fully backed by our shareholders - the government of Seychelles and Etihad Airways - Viking is our preferred supplier and partner in the 19-seat aircraft category and it is with immense joy that we are taking delivery of these aircraft one year ahead of schedule.
“This aircraft, and Isle of Bird which is currently on its way to Seychelles, arrive at a time when Air Seychelles continues to improve its domestic flight operations, a satisfying reflection of our successful turnaround strategy.
“Both deliveries are a win-win for Air Seychelles and the thousands of passengers who island hop on domestic services every year in Seychelles. They are the right tools at the right time for our airline.”
David C. Curtis added: “I am extremely appreciative of the great deal of faith Air Seychelles has in Viking and in our ability to deliver aircraft ahead of time. We value this relationship and we are honoured that such a world-class carrier has made the Twin Otter Series 400 their aircraft of choice for domestic services.
“We also believe that our presence here at Farnborough will help to expand the Twin Otter Series 400 brand presence elsewhere in the world such as the Middle East and North African region.”
Last week the two Twin Otter aircraft were flown from Viking Headquarters to Calgary where ferry fuel tanks were fitted for the extended flight to Seychelles.
In addition to this week’s stop at Farnborough, the flight path to Seychelles included Churchill (Canada), Iqaluit (Canada), Reykjavik (Iceland), Malmo (Sweden), Nis (Serbia), Aswan (Egypt) with a final stop in Nairobi (Kenya).
The ferry flights are being operated by two Air Seychelles’ pilots, Captains Sandy Benoiton and Eddie Cesar, and the distance covers a total of 9,175 nautical miles (17,000 km), the longest sector being from Aswan to Nairobi (distance 1,528 nautical miles).
The multi-million dollar fleet announcement for the purchase of three DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft was made last October in a deal between the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles and Viking Air Limited.
About Air Seychelles
Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. As the main driver of tourism in Seychelles, it is a core pillar of the national economy.
The airline offers international flights to Johannesburg, Mauritius, Mumbai and Tel Aviv as well as charter services on demand. On the domestic network, Air Seychelles operates daily domestic flights between Mahe and Praslin as well as charter services throughout the archipelago.
In 2020, Air Seychelles won the most coveted title of ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline’ at the World Travel Awards. The full service carrier was also recognized as ‘Indian Ocean's Leading Airline - Business Class’ and ‘Indian Ocean's Leading Cabin Crew ’at World Travel Awards Indian Ocean Winners Day.