Air Seychelles measuring demand for flights to return stranded tourists, workers back home
Stranded visitors and holders of Gainful Occupation Permit (GOP) in Seychelles will be able to return to their homeland when Air Seychelles starts repatriation flights in the coming weeks, the airline said on Monday.
Air Seychelles’ chief commercial officer, Charles Johnson, said the company understands “the desire of citizens wanting to travel to their home country or the countries they work in” during this difficult time.
“Once allowed by all regulatory authorities, we aim to operate a series of repatriation flights around the region, including flights to connecting regional hubs, allowing guests to get to their desired destination,” said Johnson.
As the flights will be operated based on demand, guests are invited to register their interest on the airline’s website. After registration, guests will be provided with up-to-date information on future dates of operation.
The company’s spokesperson, Sheryl Barra, told SNA that “once we have sufficient demand, the passengers will be notified of their flight schedule. Maintaining social distancing on the aircraft, we will carry only 112 passengers compared to the normal capacity of 168.”
The airline is also inviting Seychellois passport holders and expatriates holding a GOP who wish to return to the Seychelles to also register their interest for the flights via the Air Seychelles webpage.
Barra added that after consultations with the Department of Health, Air Seychelles can only fly passengers from the Seychelles to their final destinations or connecting regional hubs.
“As we have also requested Seychellois passport holders and expatriates holding a GOP wanting to return to the Seychelles to register their interest, we will monitor the request and if we have sufficient demand to operate, discussions will be held with both the Department of Health and Civil Aviation Authority to obtain the necessary approval,” she added.
Since airlines started cancelling operations worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors have found themselves stranded in the 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. The Immigration Department said in a previous interview that as of April 1, there were 1,999 foreign visitors in Seychelles.
Last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that the government is aware that around 20 South African nationals in the island nation wish to return home.
The Department said that in view of current travel restrictions “the government has been working with various governments whose nationals are in Seychelles in offering them the option of repatriation under specified conditions and other possible forms of assistance to their nationals.”
Source: Seychelles News Agency