Chennai designated Asian hub by Air Seychelles

Friday, November 19, 2010, 11:22 by Aviation Correspondent

In order to service the increased demand from passengers who are seeking a direct link between Seychelles and India, Air Seychelles has launched their direct flights to Chennai.

The national carrier of the island of Seychelles has reportedly also been talking to the authorities for traffic rights between Chennai and Singapore. Sources at the airline confirmed that they have received approval for the Chennai –Seychelles weekly flight to be started immediately.

Serviced by a Boeing 767, the flight will depart from Chennai on Wednesdays and arrive at Seychelles approximately takes 4.20 hours later. They say that the load factor that is being expected is 80%. The first flight from Seychelles to Chennai had a 90% load factor, and the carrier will definitely look to increase the frequency of flights if this demand is sustained, said sources.

Chennai is expected to be a very popular hub for the airline, and it has been designated as the carrier’s Asian hub. Sources at the airline say that both leisure and business travelers would be keen on flying into the city on Air Seychelles.

Statistics say that the island of Seychelles has tourist arrival figures of 1.70 lakh, with a recent 57% growth of visitors coming in from Asia. More than half of this 57% are flying in from India, which provided the impetus for launching the nonstop direct service to Chennai.

Another prime advantage that this route has is that while travelers from India will fly in to the island for leisure purposes, islanders will be keen to avail of the service for coming into India for medical tourism. There is also the added possibility of Chennai turning into the shopping destinations for the islanders, who have until now been flying into Singapore and Dubai for this purpose.

The carrier is offering basic fares between Chennai and Seychelles at Rs. 20,000 (minus taxes) and also has special offers discounting half of the fare on a companion’s ticket and for tour operators. Air Seychelles is in the extensive process of rebranding itself, and while designating Chennai as its Asian hub, has also designated Paris as its European hub.