The national carrier of Austria — Austrian Airlines — landed in Seychelles for the first time on Wednesday October 26, 2017.
The inaugural flight with 214 passengers onboard was greeted by a traditional water canon salute after touching down at the Seychelles’ International airport, a few minutes before 9.00am.
Present at the airport to witness the historic occasion were: Seychelles’ Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Garry Albert, Chairman of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) Captain David Savy, SCAA’s Chief Executive, Gilbert Faure, Seychelles Tourism Board’s Regional Manager based in Frankfurt, Edith Hunzinger, as well as Lufthansa Group’s General Manager Sales for East Africa, Tobias Ernst.
Seychelles is the fourth new destination to be added to Austrian Airlines’ global network of approximately 130 destinations. This follows the signing of an air transport agreement in May this year, between Seychelles and Austria, which are celebrating 40 years of bilateral relations this year.
Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne remarked that Wednesday’s inaugural flight, coincides with the Austrian National Day – on October 26, and more importantly becomes the third airline flying to Seychelles non-stop from Europe, after Air Seychelles and Condor, which operate from Paris and Frankfurt, respectively.
“Europe is today giving us 18 percent more passengers than last year and the direct flights will contribute significantly towards consolidating the market, and as it’s a direct flight we are expecting to see a shift towards the high end visitors, which is the segment we are continuously seeking to attract for Seychelles as a tourist destination,” said Minister Loustau-Lalanne.
On top of helping to grow the Seychelles’ European market, particularly the German-speaking markets; the newly introduced Austrian Airlines’ service is expected to boost the number of visitors from Austria – a country with over 8 million people.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, a total of 5,943 Austrian visitors have landed in the island nation up to October 22 this year, representing an 18 percent increase over last year, and Minister Loustau-Lalanne is predicting a 40 percent growth in visitor numbers from Austria by the end of this year, up from the 34 percent increase recorded last year.
Austrian Airlines – Austria’s largest carrier — is part of the Lufthansa Group, Europe’s largest airline group and a member of the Star Alliance.
Lufthansa Group’s General Manager Sales for East Africa Tobias Ernst said Austrian Airlines has been running an extensive marketing campaign since the beginning of the year to promote the flights, which has resulted in the completely full first trip. This he said, has been done in collaboration with travel companies in Europe, which had approached the airline to operate flights to the Indian Ocean archipelago.
“It has been a very positive start with the full flight today and the next flights are also fully booked. We are strongly convinced that Seychelles is a very rapidly growing, upcoming, new tourist destination for the Europeans, and that is why we have started today’s flight,” said Mr Ernst.
Austrian Airlines will be operating once-per-week non-stop flights to and from Austria starting with its winter 2017/18 flight schedule, using a Boeing 767. The flight departs its main hub – Vienna International Airport on Wednesdays, returning from Seychelles on Thursdays.