Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles successfully launched its new service to the vibrant capital city of Colombo this week.
The inaugural flight landed at the Bandaranaike International Airport in the early hours of Wednesday 21st June 2023, after having left its home base of Mahe the night before at 2205 hrs after a short 4 hour flight. The aircraft was warmly greeted by a celebratory water cannon salute, followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially ring in the new partnership. The Sri Lankan Tourism Board organised for the passengers to be welcomed in style by offering a welcome token of their renowned tea and a traditional Kandyan performance by a local cultural dance troupe.
Amongst the passengers on this first flight to Colombo, was the airline’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sandy Benoiton, His Excellency Mr Srimal Wickrewmasinghe, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, PS for Tourism Mrs Sherin Francis as well as PS for Sport Mr Ralph Jean-Louis.
The airline’s Airbus A320 aircraft ‘Veuve’ was commanded by Captain Christophe Larue and First Officer Balaji Naidoo while the passengers were looked after by Cabin Manager Jerris Cadeau and other crew members including Suzanne Firmino, Angela Nicette, Ireney Cruise Wilkins and Tessy Philoe. The flight carried a total of 110 passengers.
Upon landing, the aircraft remained on ground for around an hour before making its way back home with over 2.5 tons of cargo on board, half of which were headed to Tel Aviv.
Sandy Benoiton, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles comments, “Colombo is one of the largest markets un-served by a nonstop flight in our region. Seychellois love coming to Sri Lanka for a number of reasons, with tourism and medical being at the top of the list. Additionally, there is a large number of Sri Lankans working in Seychelles, primarily in hospitality and construction, all in need of easier access to their home country. Currently, to fly between Seychelles and Sri Lanka, travelers must go via one of the Gulf carriers, which can take 10-12 hours of journey time, and at considerable expense. Our nonstop flight allows for a journey of approximately 4 hours in total.”
In order to create greater awareness for Seychellois travelers about Sri Lanka as a tourist destination, the Sri Lanka Tourism Board is organizing a familiarisation tour for the trade and media partners from the Seychelles, and to further develop the respective bilateral and business partnerships of both islands.
In the evening, a travel trade event and dinner reception was hosted in collaboration with Tourism Seychelles, which saw the participation of top travel agencies in Sri Lanka, South Africa and the Seychelles, while also welcoming representatives and owners from the hospitality and medical industries of the country. This made for an ideal environment for which to network and create new partnerships to tie in with the new service.
Also while in Colombo, Mr Benoiton also took the opportunity to officially open the Air Seychelles Office in downtown Colombo, with Mr Robert Douglas present as the newly selected GSA for Sri Lanka. The office is located at 377A/1 Galle Road, Colombo 3 and will be open six days a week.
Air Seychelles will be operating twice weekly flights to Colombo, leaving Seychelles on Tuesdays and Saturdays and from Colombo on Wednesdays and Sundays.
About Air Seychelles
The Seychelles national carrier has been flying for over 45 years. Wholly owned by the Government of Seychelles, the carrier operates regionally from its home in Mahe to Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Colombo and Mauritius with state of the art Airbus A320neo’s. Domestically the carrier operates up to 30 roundtrips a day to Praslin, the second largest island in the archipelago, along with various charters to other islands on its twin-otter fleet.
In 2022, Air Seychelles managed to retain the most coveted title of ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline’ at the 29th edition of the World Travel Awards as well as, ‘Indian Ocean's Leading Airline Business Class', 'Indian Ocean's Leading Cabin Crew' and 'Indian Ocean's Leading Airline Lounge.'
Information contained in this press release is accurate at the time of publication.