Air Seychelles’ planned inaugural flight to Chennai, en route to Singapore, was delayed until further notice, when it emerged that the airline had not been given traffic rights in time.
Although the application, according to reliable sources in Mahe, was filed 100 days in advance – instead of the mandatory 60 days – and staff and local contacts in India were relentlessly chasing the application’s progress in the weeks leading up to the 01st of November, the approvals did not come forth.
Suggestions have promptly circulated in aviation circles that rival airlines were trying to use their influence, with other suggestions not being so ‘innocent’, said to be worried over or opposed to Air Seychelles’ code share arrangements with another Indian carrier, which would boost ‘new routes’ for both of them beyond Chennai and Mahe.
It was learned that diplomatic pressure is now being exerted on India by the Seychelles to approve the flight immediately under the bilateral air services agreement or else risk a fall out on the otherwise cordial and friendly relations between the two countries. It was also learned that no stone will be left unturned to establish who was individually and / or collectively responsible for the delay of formally granting traffic rights at the Indian government department and what inducements if any might have ‘led to the decision being held back’.