British Airways returns to Seychelles after 14 yrs.
After a 14-year-absence, British Airways returned to Seychelles on Sunday, touching down at the international airport of Pointe Larue at 6.10 a.m. local time.
British Airways is beginning twice-weekly non-stop flights to Seychelles from London’s Heathrow airport on Thursdays and Sundays. Flights will arrive in the 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean at 7.10 a.m. and depart at 9.10 a.m.
The Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, said, “It is an exciting day for all of us as it was the dream to see the return of the once so popular airline in Seychelles.” British Airways, the flag carrier of the United Kingdom, stopped direct flights to Seychelles in 2004.
“As you landed it must have felt like coming home, as it is the same runway that the British built in 1969 so as to connect our then isolated islands to the United Kingdom and the world,” he added.
The executive president of sales at British Airways, Richard Tams, said, “British Airways already shares a history dating back to 1971 when the first BOAC flight departed for this tropical archipelago with 110 passengers onboard. The flight stopped in Nairobi before landing in Seychelles.”
Tams announced that the flights to Seychelles will be year-round. Loustau-Lalanne said that with the direct flights from the U.K, the island nation expects to have around 25,000 visitors from the UK by the end of this year, representing a 21 percent increase.
He added that the British market recorded a growth of 14 percent last year with over 21, 000 travellers coming to Seychelles and that “non-stop services from Heathrow will also give a boost to the other emerging markets to mainly the USA and Canada.”
British Airways made its inaugural flight with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the latest addition to the fleet, carrying 214 passengers. The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is the latest addition to the British Airways fleet. (Joena Bonnelame) Photo License: CC-BY
“Today, it’s a new generation of aircraft which landed in Seychelles; the Dreamliner 787-9 is our most fuel-efficient aircraft and is around 40 percent quieter than other aircraft, giving customers the ideal environment to get some shut-eye,” Tams added.
The British Airways executive said BA will be liaising a lot with hotels in Seychelles and there will be an effective marketing strategy to ensure customers year round. As she welcomed British Airways, the British High Commissioner in Seychelles Caron Rohsler laid a lot of emphasis on the environmental impact tourists can have on these fragile and beautiful islands.
She said that the British High Commission is adding a new information to its web pages about sustainable tourism. “This will include tips on how visitors can help preserve the ocean and island habitats so that future generations can enjoy them,” Rohsler said.
Visitor arrivals from the U.K and Northern Ireland to date are around 3608, making it the 6th leading market for Seychelles which relies largely on tourism – the top contributor to its economy.