Air Seychelles boosts nonstop Paris flights with Air France codeshare agreement
After starting a thrice-weekly nonstop service between the Seychelles and Paris in July this year, the national carrier of the Seychelles today inked a codeshare agreement with Air France to provide more connections between the European continent and the islands.
According to a press statement issued by Air Seychelles on Tuesday, Air Seychelles’ ‘HM’ code will be added to Air France’s domestic flights between the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nice and Toulouse, as well as to Air France’s regional services to other European cities such as Athens, Berlin, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Manchester, Munich and Zurich.
In return, Air France’s ‘AF’ code will be utilised on Air Seychelles’ nonstop service between Paris and Seychelles, as well as on domestic flights between the main island of Mahé and Praslin, the 115-island archipelago’s second-largest island, home to the endemic coco-de-mer palm forest of the Vallée de Mai.
All in all, Air Seychelles’ HM code will appear on 157 domestic and regional Air France flights each week, and Air France will offer a total of 18 international and domestic codeshare flights per week operated by Air Seychelles.
The codeshared flights will be available for booking from August 19, for travel from August 21.
The agreement was signed by the Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles, Roy Kinnear, and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air France, Frédéric Gagey, today after the signing of an initial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two airlines in April 2015.
“With this agreement it is now possible to travel from six of the biggest French cities to Seychelles via Paris, using just one ticket for the entire trip,” said Air Seychelles CEO, Roy Kinnear. “These cities have a population of 2.66 million people, with millions more in the surrounding catchment area, and strong travel demand for flights to the Seychelles.”
Kinnear added that the partnership would also strengthen the regional network to nine European destinations outside France, including Germany and the United Kingdom, which he said were in the top five of the Seychelles’ largest markets for inbound tourism.
According to Kinnear, bilateral trade between Seychelles and France, which totalled USD $229 million in 2014, could be further improved under the deal, with 60 tonnes of cargo bellyhold capacity available each week on the Paris-Charles de Gaulle service.
France is currently the top source of inbound tourism for the Seychelles, with 22,743 French visitors thus far since the start of the year, representing an increase of 14 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics.
The Seychelles’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Transport and Chairman of Air Seychelles, Joël Morgan, has expressed confidence that this upward trend will continue thanks to the combined network growth brought about by the codeshare agreement.
“It comes in the wake of a bilateral meeting in December 2014 between President James Michel and President François Hollande, who agreed that enhanced air access was essential to moving our relationship forward. We have achieved this by launching non-stop flights to Paris and through this exciting new partnership with Air France," said Minister Morgan.
"Air France welcomes this partnership with Air Seychelles, which provides our customers with new travel opportunities to the popular island group and underlines our commitment to strengthening air connectivity in the Indian Ocean region,” said Air France CEO Frédéric Gagey in the statement.
Gagey added that Air France looked forward to building on the codeshare agreement even further to provide the French flag carrier’s customers with more travel benefits in the future.