Air Seychelles, under new management for a month, has moved to consolidate its operations. It has been relooking at its international routes and has now announced that it will be ceasing its weekly flights to Chennai. Due to customer demands, the airline will resume its direct flights to Singapore beginning in June of this year.
Air Seychelles launched its Chennai flights in November last year, which was aimed at making Chennai the hub of its operations in Asia and to also expand further into India and other Asian destinations.
The Chennai flights were linked to Singapore as this destination was making a loss, and for the airline to break even, Chennai was added.
However, the stop in Chennai added two more hours of flying time, and additional costs were being incurred on the ground in Chennai which has increased the loss.
As a result, Air Seychelles posted a loss of R16.5m during the past three-and-a-half months, which is equal to the loss of a full year of operations to Singapore.
Air Seychelles Executive Chairman Maurice Loustau-Lalanne said: “Our decision to suspend these flights has not been taken lightly, as we had invested money and time to make this route profitable. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and in the absence of 5th Freedom Traffic Rights to uplift passengers between Chennai and Singapore, we have no other option but to suspend our weekly Chennai operations as of June 1, 2011.”
He explained, however, that with the on-going review of its operations, Air Seychelles still considers India as an important market, and depending on the final strategy adopted, a dedicated flight to India and back to Mahe is not ruled out.
Meanwhile, the airline has confirmed that all passengers who have booked to travel to and from Chennai after June 1, 2011, and who have already paid for their tickets, will be refunded.
Air Seychelles previously operated between Seychelles and Mumbai between 2001 and 2005 but due to fierce competition from other carriers, the national airline withdrew its services.
With the withdrawal of the Chennai route, Air Seychelles will continue to operate its weekly flights to Singapore departing Mahe on Monday evenings and returning on Wednesday night.