Recovering from the debilitating effects of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, which brought many uncertainties to the aviation industry, as well as coming out of Administration in November, the national carrier Air Seychelles can now review its performance from the past year with a more optimistic outlook. 2022 was a year that can best be described as one that was filled with determination, resilience and hard work.
Besides its scheduled network consisting of Mumbai, Mauritius, Johannesburg and Tel Aviv, the airline’s A320NEO fleet covered an impressive 35 destinations in 2022 through chartered flights carrying passengers across the globe. Some of these destinations included London, Beijing, Bucharest and Dakar, among others.
As for the scheduled flights already on the airline’s network, the combination of all five destinations registered a sharp 172% increase in passengers carried in 2022. Flying a total of 74,272 passengers on 851 flights from January to December, compared to 27,319 passengers on 361 flights during the previous year. Johannesburg remains Air Seychelles’ most popular market as of the end of December 2022, with the Israeli city of Tel Aviv coming in a close second.
The On-Time-Performance saw a slight degradation of 2% in 2022. In unusual times when air travel was severely impacted, such as the Covid-19 era, uncertainties caused ground-handling companies to lower their headcount so much that when the surge of post-pandemic flights rolled in, it was a challenge to keep up. This affected departures hence causing reactionary delays on other flights.
Air Seychelles also made its mark in Kazakhstan in late December 2022, having launched a seasonal route between the bustling Central Asian city of Almaty and the island nation, scheduled to run through to March 2023. There are 18 roundtrip flights in the winter series, with the potential to carry over 6,000 passengers.
Another department recording a marked improvement was the Cargo section. Air Seychelles saw an increase of 35% in cargo handled, combining both imports and exports, totalling 10,043 tons compared to 7,430 tons in 2021.
In addition, with most travel restrictions having eased up during the early months of the year, the domestic sector also enjoyed an increase in bookings and movement at the Mahe and Praslin Domestic Airports. Between January and December 2022, the inter-island transfers recorded a total of 141,973 passengers flying on the airline’s five twin otters bringing it up to a 45% increase from 2021’s figures of 98,005.
In response to the performance review, Acting Chief Executive Officer Sandy Benoiton, said, “We’re excited to report on the strength of the commercial and operational performance at Air Seychelles. Even though 2022 was still subject to the effects of Omicron in Quarter 1, the team achieved great results that we can all be proud of. We’ve returned to our previous markets and added new destinations like Almaty. Additionally, we continue to diversify our international flying unit with a strong focus on ACMI and charters, helping us to balance any risk associated with the economy, strong oil prices or any Covid-related travel downturn.”