Sources close to the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) have been in touch with this correspondent over the recently-published letter of the chairperson of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA), which laid heavily into both the SCAA and Air Seychelles.
The source made it clear that there were several “misjudgements” – this is the best translation from French I can come up with – on the part of the SHTA, which needed to be cleared up.
The SCAA has, under the bilateral air services agreement, granted Emirates 7 flights per week, with 6 presently operating, but the arrival time slot of the proposed 7th flight was not available, as other wide-bodied aircraft were already scheduled to arrive over this time frame. The limited space at the Mahe International Airport is presently not permitting to add a third wide-bodied aircraft on the ground at the same time, before substantial additional handling capacity is first created to increase processing of passengers and cargo at the entire airport.
It was also pointed out that other reasons advanced by the SHTA in this connection were also not correct, since two of the present 6 flights were already using a different time slot at the airport and were not showing any lesser passenger occupancies compared to the other 4 flights.
Wrote the source: “To say SCAA or our national airline have stopped the 7th flight is misleading, and you ought to make the truth public.”
At the same time, the same source also took exception about comments made over the general level of air access to the islands, saying: “[The] government of Seychelles and SCAA have entered into dozens of bilateral air services agreements, which govern air transport between countries. SCAA, as does the government, encourage[s], in fact, more countries to enter into negotiations with us to bring more traffic to the islands, the only real way tourists can, in fact, arrive here. Air Seychelles is our national airline and makes representations when we negotiate such deals, and we also encourage commercial agreements where Air Seychelles can tie up with other airlines, like they fly on behalf of Air France between Paris and Mahe. Anyone suggesting that SCAA, or [the] government, or Air Seychelles would be opposed to more flights and more connections, is simply misinformed or did not understand these complex issues of aviation business.”
No comment was available at the time of going to press from Air Seychelles, but it is hoped that for next week a statement can be obtained from them, too, for the sake of clearing the air.