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Thu 10 Apr 2014 12:36 PM

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Etihad-backed Air Seychelles posts 171% profit surge

The $3m profit is the island carrier’s second year back in the black as it doubled its international network

Etihad-backed Air Seychelles posts 171% profit surge

Etihad-backed Air Seychelles has recorded its second consecutive year of net profit with the airline attributing the 171 percent increase to a doubling of its international network and strengthened partnership with the UAE national carrier.

Releasing its financial results on Thursday, Air Seychelles, which is 40 percent owned by Etihad, said it recorded a $3m profit for 2013, up on $1.1m in 2012.

Revenue increased by 107 percent to $88.7m, it said.

The airline said passenger numbers on its international network increased 100 percent from 97,576 to 195,857, while traffic on domestic services in 2013 increased nine percent to 156,617 passengers.

Cargo volumes were up 159 percent on 2012 to 5,529 tonnes.

Joël Morgan, Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs and Transport and Air Seychelles chairman, said the 2013 results were a testament to the on-going success of the airline’s turnaround strategy and business plan.

“In just two years, we have rebuilt our national carrier, strengthened our partnership with Etihad Airways and beyond, delivering good results for the airline,” he said.

Air Seychelles CEO Manoj Papa said the results were another step forward “in our journey as a commercially successful business” and came against a backdrop of impressive development in both domestic and international operations.

“Our business is now in good shape for the future, which includes growing our operations, launching new routes, taking delivery of new aircraft, expanding airline partnerships, hiring more Seychellois, and bringing more travellers to the Seychelles,” he said. “We have established a solid basis for continued growth which reinforces the future of Air Seychelles and its vital contribution to the Seychelles economy.”

Bolstering its growth, the airline bought a second Airbus A330-200 aircraft last March - the same month the island carrier launched three weekly flights to Hong Kong, and increased frequencies to Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg and Mauritius to double international weekly services to 16.

Johannesburg and Mauritius enjoyed an additional return service per week, connecting each destination three times a week respectively with the Seychelles. The airline’s Abu Dhabi services also increased from four to seven return flights per week.

Abu Dhabi was Air Seychelles’ busiest international route, with a total of 90,746 passengers carried between the archipelago and capital of the United Arab Emirates, a year-on-year increase of 178 per cent, it said.

The airline increased from one to five its codeshare partnerships after entering agreements with Air Berlin, Czech Airlines, South African Airways, and Cathay Pacific Airways in 2013 – increasing Air Seychelles’ virtual network from 19 to 34 destinations.

Etihad Airways bought into Air Seychelles in 2012 in only its second equity investment at the time after it bought a stake in Air Berlin. It now has seven equity stakes in global carriers.

Initially, Etihad invested $20m in Air Seychelles, which was to be matched by the Seychelles government, as well as a $25m loan to meet working capital requirements and fund network development.

Last year, Air Seychelles reported a net profit of $1m for the 2012 financial year, its first following three consecutive annual losses.

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