Air Seychelles’ brand new Airbus A320neo aircraft has operated its official flight between Seychelles and Johannesburg, South Africa.
The new generation aircraft, which departed Seychelles International Airport at 8am received a warm welcome upon arrival at the OR Tambo International Airport.
Air Seychelles chief executive officer Remco Althuis said: “It is with great pride and joy to introduce our new Airbus A320neo aircraft to the South African market and even better to become the first air carrier to operate this type of aircraft across the Indian Ocean and Africa.
“South Africa remains a very important market for Air Seychelles and with the increased capacity of the A320neo, we are excited to grow the number of visitors on the route to further support the continued growth of tourism between Johannesburg and the Mahe hub.
“The successful introduction of our new fuel efficient aircraft into the market would have not been possible without the close collaboration of our stakeholders and partners.
“I would like to express my gratitude to all of you for your guidance and dedication for making today’s event a success for national airline of Seychelles.”
Air Seychelles Airbus A320neo aircraft named ‘Veuve’ also commonly known as the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, named after a critically endangered bird unique to the Seychelles, features a total capacity of 168 seats including 12 seats in Business Class and 156 seats in Economy Class.
The single –aisle A320neo jetliner manufactured by Airbus is powered by the new-generation LEAP-1A engine from CFM International featuring large, fuel-saving wingtip devices known as Sharklets.
Joep Ellers, Airbus head of Airline Marketing Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “The A320neo is the world’s most advanced and fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft.
“We are particularly proud with this one here today as it is the first A320neo flying with an African airline.”
Welcoming the new aircraft at O R Tambo International Airport, the general manager of the Airport, Bongiwe Pityi-Vokwana said: “This is a special moment for us as O R Tambo International Airport to be the very first airport on the African Continent to receive this new generation of aircraft.
“This reaffirms our commitment to invest in world-class infrastructure that can accommodate the most sophisticated aircraft and attract new players in the aviation industry.”
Highlighting the importance of maintaining the strong relationship with trade and tourism partners in the market, deputy chief executive officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Jenifer Sinon commented: “This new milestone for Air Seychelles is a great achievement for the destination.
“This is good news for the destination and our dedicated partners on the market.
“It is undeniable that Seychelles destination would gain a lot from the additional number of seats added on our market as well as for South African tourists and other potential visitors from all over the world.”
Currently, Air Seychelles operates daily services between Seychelles and Johannesburg.
Together with codeshare partner South African Airways travellers can book their trip up to four cities beyond Johannesburg including to Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town or to Gaborone, Francistown and Maun with interline partner Air Botswana.