This morning the Seychelles International Airport witnessed the return of Turkish Airlines’ passenger flight with a water canon salute after one year of absence.
The Airbus 330 touched down at 10:24am with 171 passengers onboard.
Turkey’s national airline had to cease its scheduled flights in March last year due to the pandemic. Following the ease of restrictions in late March by the government, allowing visitors from around the globe to enter Seychelles, Turkish Airlines announced that they would resumed with two weekly flights on Tuesdays and Fridays. On both days the aircraft is expected to land at 11am and leave Seychelles at 10:05pm.
Turkish Airlines connects Seychelles to Istanbul which is one of the major hubs globally for both passengers and cargo. It once again serves as a link to the archipelago’s traditional European tourism market as well as offer product diversity in terms availing the traveling market another option for travels to the Seychelles.
Air Transport Officer Mr Kurtis Lespoir said the return of the airline is good news for Seychelles. It attests to collaborative efforts to restore confidence in Seychelles’ market. It is an important step towards the recovery of the aviation and tourism industry locally.
He added that in the past Turkish has been consistent with its service to Seychelles, recording growth year on year, since it launched services to Seychelles in 2016.
“Before the Pandemic, we had predicted substantial growth by the airline in the coming years, but that took a very sharp damp as of March 2020. However, the return of the airline today brings to us renewed hope that the we will eventually get back on track. Growth in traffic at the international airport is expected with the resumption of Turkish’ Airlines passenger flights for the summer season and beyond,” Mr Lespoir said.
However, in the absence of its regular flights during that one-year period the airline was conducting a series of ad-hoc cargo flights to the island country.
In terms of inbound cargo during the pandemic, Turkish carried over 490,000 kg to Seychelles and about 108,000 outbound cargo in 2020. In March this year, inbound cargo recorded was stood at over 15,000kg and over 3000 kg for outbound.
In March this year, EAST Services, a Seychellois-owned company also freighted Turkish Airlines to bring a consignment or cargo to the country.
Turkey’s national carrier made its first trip to Seychelles in October 2016 linking Istanbul to the islands of this well sought-after archipelago.
In total since the reopening of borders there are five international commercial passenger carriers flying to the island State; Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Aeroflot, EL AL and Arkia Israeli airlines. Air Seychelles is also conducting regular international flights to various points.