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Mon 18 Mar 2013 08:19 PM

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Etihad-backed Air Seychelles posts $1m profit

Carrier posts first profit in three years following Abu Dhabi’s equity purchase last year

Etihad-backed Air Seychelles posts $1m profit

Air Seychelles reported a net profit of US$1m for the 2012 financial year, its first following three consecutive annual losses, after Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways acquired a 40 percent stake in the airline.

During the year, the Indian Ocean country’s flag carrier flew 247,750 passengers during the 12-month period and increased its onward destinations from Abu Dhabi to more than 375 per week.

The company previously said that in 3Q2012 it recorded US$13.8m in revenue, while the carrier has undertaken cost-cutting measures since Etihad made its initial investment of US$20m.

“In the first instance, this meant looking at the cost-base, and then stripping down the business right across the airline’s operations to find the right shape and size for our national carrier,” said Air Seychelles CEO Cramer Ball.

The airline said reductions in costs were achieved by renegotiating contracts for catering, ground handling and in-flight entertainment, as well as the conclusion of joint contracts for fuel, uniforms and stationery supplies.

“We introduced strict fiscal control in parallel with business process re-engineering to make our operation more efficient.  We are a very different business today.”

The company has also expanded its network via 19 codeshares with Etihad, which have allowed the carrier to increase the number of European destinations it serves.

“Our first focus was on a new network plan which could support the hugely important tourist sector in Seychelles more effectively with good connections and broader choice for visitors to the archipelago,” Ball added.

Air Seychelles said it hoped to capture more of the Asian market this year via the introduction of a route to Hong Kong. “We are going to continue to build our capacity with a second A330-200, allowing us to start flights to Hong Kong to capture the lucrative Asian leisure market in March 2013. We will also be increasing the frequency of flights to Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg and Mauritius,” Ball said.

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