Seychelles President James Michel has visited the headquarters of Air Seychelles at the International Airport this morning, where he met with the Acting Executive Chairman Ambassador Maurice Loustau Lalanne and the staff of various departments to talk to them about their work and the change taking place at the national airline, as well as financial difficulties in its operation.
“ As President of the Seychelles I will never let our airline down… There are a lot of challenges today, and there have been many in the past, and we have surmounted them. Today I am proud of Air Seychelles,” said President Michel to the staff of different sections of Air Seychelles in the boardroom.
The President thanked the staff of Air Seychelles for their hard work and dedication and said that he would give them all the support that they need to have a prosperous career in the airline industry.
Air Seychelles’ financial difficulties have been the subject of speculation this week and the President reassured the staff of Air Seychelles that the government would continue to support their job security.
“Air Seychelles is the lifeline of our tourism industry… I can guarantee to you that it will survive. Seychellois staff will not lose their jobs, and we will make sure the company prospers with the new management structures coming into place… We have to fly our Creole spirit around the world… I am convinced that Air Seychelles will continue to do so.”
Following his visit to the Air Seychelles headquarters, the President noted that the aviation industry around the world was experiencing similar problems to the national airline, and that in many cases, government intervention was necessary.
“This is not the first time that Air Seychelles has suffered losses and faced financial difficulties. It has happened in the past when there has been global economic turbulence, and we overcame these difficulties… Airlines around the world are facing job cuts, and company mergers due to economic problems, it is a difficult period for the aviation industry, and that is why many governments, such as India, Tanzania, and Mauritius, and others around the world, are stepping in with financial help to ensure their national airlines keep flying. Many airlines have collapsed, but this government will not let that happen. We will continue to support Air Seychelles,” said President Michel.
On the topic of competition faced by Air Seychelles, by increasing number of flights by Emirates and Qatar Airways, the President said that this would be a challenge for Air Seychelles and that work would be undertaken to minimize the impact on the company.
“In considering the competition that Air Seychelles is facing, I have to consider the needs of [the] tourism industry and the economy of Seychelles. We have a lot of hotels, guesthouses, and entrepreneurs benefitting from the tourism industry. We have to be realistic; Air Seychelles cannot bring visitors to Seychelles alone, and if it did, many hotels would be three-quarters empty. That is why we need more frequent flights from other airlines in order to fill the hotels and guesthouses. Air Seychelles still has many competitive advantages with its direct flights from Europe that it needs to capitalize on.”