Seychelles Airlines - a local private airline - is re-examining its business strategies and hope to kick off operations late next year, said the company’s deputy chief executive on Wednesday.
The airline is submitting revised documents to the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) for approval.
Seychelles Airlines was to start operations in 2013 with two Boeings 767 but is now looking at the possibility of leasing other planes.
The airline is looking at the possibility of flying to Paris, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, Mauritius, and Singapore.
“When deciding which route to fly, a lot of research has to be done. You need to know how many people are travelling from which country, how they are getting here and which carrier they are using among others,” said Robert Marie, the deputy chief executive.
During the early stages of the company’s formation, the partners – Robert Marie, Ahmed Afif and Phillip Boule – had decided to fly to European countries.
“In 2013, [very few airlines] were doing direct long haul between Seychelles and Europe and we decided that is what we are going to do,” said Marie, a former Air Seychelles pilot.
|Robert Marie -- the deputy chief executive of the Seychelles Airlines.(Robert Marie) Photo License: CC-BY|
The company could not go further when they were told by the Registrar that the airline could not use the name ‘Seychelles Airlines’ as it resembled the national carrier’s name – ‘Air Seychelles’.
The Registrar General, Wendy Pierre, told SNA that “the initial decision not to register the name was taken by the Registrar of Companies.”
“Registrar makes their decisions taking into consideration the law and other factors. It does happen that we have to liaise with other authorities [when making such considerations],” said Pierre.
Marie said that at this point “we could have changed the name but I didn't think it would have made any difference - we would still have met objections as an airline by certain people. That is when we decided to take the case to court and everything dragged for two years.”
In 2015, parent company Intershore Aviation won its court case when the judge ruled that there is nothing wrong in using the name ‘Seychelles Airlines’.
Since the company announced its formation, Marie said that there are people who have sent them their CVs. The company will be employing around 150 local and foreign staffs, the bulk of which will be needed in flights operation.
“Foreigners will be needed in the company, especially in the 10 to 15 key positions where, under the law, high qualifications are needed and unfortunately there isn't any Seychellois who meets the requirement,” said Marie.
The plan is to have a Seychellois attached to each foreigner, as the airline aims at “having an airline that will be purely operated by Seychellois.” Seychelles Airlines forecast that within six to seven years this can be attained.
Talking about the tough competition, Marie said that aviation is a cruel industry and that they are aware of the tricks that other airlines might come with, in response to them starting operations.