Air Seychelles to fly humanitarian cargo to Kabul and Islamabad
Air Seychelles has been given a long-term contract with a United States-based non-profit to carry humanitarian cargo, the airline said on Wednesday.
The name of the organisation was not disclosed as the contract is still under discussion. Through the contract, one of Air Seychelles’ A320neo aircraft and crew will be based in Dubai for three months for the operation. The flights will be carrying humanitarian cargo to Kabul in Afghanistan and Islamabad in Pakistan as well as passengers from those cities to Qatar and Europe, before resettlement in the United States.
The airline said, “It is continually finding ways to optimise revenue opportunities, and an operation like this, which guarantees a significant amount of revenue to the company, helps mitigate the challenging operating environment the carrier faces as oil prices continue to rise, and the risk of COVID-related variants remains a possibility.”
The flights to Kabul will be initially conducted by management pilots in the presence of the Air Seychelles’ acting CEO, Sandy Benoiton, and other crew members who choose to volunteer for this contract.
Five members of the senior management team including the acting CEO travelled to Kabul recently to ensure that safety and security standards meet all operational requirements.
Air Seychelles is currently being managed by two administrators, Bernard Pool and Suketu Patel, until agreements with the airline’s creditors have been finalised, declined to comment further.
The administrators were appointed in October 2021 to initiate the airline’s reorganisation process after a petition was filed by the Apex Trustees Bondholders on August 19, 2021, for the winding up of Air Seychelles to recuperate their investment made in the airline.
In his state of the nation address in February, Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan said that “We have negotiated with Etihad and the bondholders and Air Seychelles went into administration. But today we can celebrate because through the negotiation we have been able to write off $100 million (SCR1.5 billion) of debt for Air Seychelles.”
According to Air Seychelles, the contract is an essential win at a time when it is much needed for the national carrier of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
The airline said it will continue to seek more charters and contracts like this in the future to ensure a sustainable future while gradually growing back the existing regional flying network.