- The governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and of Seychelles yesterday reached an agreement of starting daily flights between the two countries. The dominant Arab airliner Emirates Airline is to operate the new line, in the belief that Seychelles is even growing its importance as a tourist destination.
According to the Seychellois government, Emirates Airline "plans to start daily flights to Seychelles soon," following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of the United Arab Emirates and of Seychelles on Thursday.
- Wherever we fly, we offer a minimum of seven flights a week, the chairman of the airline, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said after he signed the memorandum with Seychellois officials. Sheikh Al-Maktoum said that his airline would maintain the same fares charged by Air Seychelles, adding, "we would never undercut Air Seychelles at any time."
He said that the government of Dubai - which owns the airliner - has 66 aircrafts, the smallest of which has capacity for 250 passengers. The company also boasts a number of 430-seater aircraft, according to Sheikh Al-Maktoum. "We will operate the 250-seater Airbus A310-300 to Seychelles," he said.
The Arab Sheikh further said the airline was expecting to market Seychelles as a destination around the world and expected the island nation to have an increase in visitors who will be taking advantage of the many new five star establishments that are coming up.
- We fly to 77 destinations and we will market Seychelles at each of them, Mr Al-Maktoum said, adding that Seychelles was to feature on all advertising brochures that the airline is to issue. This point was especially appreciated by the Seychellois government, which hopes to repair its stagnant economy with further gains in the tourism sector.
The Emirate's airline director further informed that negotiations that had been going on between Seychelles and the airline would ensure that "repatriation of funds will not be a problem for the airline, and that the airline will be here to stay." The Emirates Airline flights are expected to start this year, most probably in October.
Seychelles' principal secretary for Tourism, Gerard Lafortune, commented that the new airlines that are expected to start flying here will "forge new partnerships" with the national carrier, Air Seychelles.
- With the new environment in the airline industry that is now coming into existence, Air Seychelles will also look at where else opportunities exist, Mr Lafortune said, adding that the airline industry is facing competition everywhere in the world and that Air Seychelles now has "all the capacity to be able to compete with other airlines."
Mr Lafortune further refuted allegations that British Airways (BA) had been unable to repatriate any of its funds. BA was earlier reported to have had financial troubles when operating its Seychelles flights.
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