The Seychelles International Airport in Mahé is the only international airport in the Seychelles. Air Seychelles (in which Etihad has taken a shareholding) operates a shuttle service between Mahé and Praslin, the second largest island. Also part of the air network is Helicopter Seychelles and Zil Air, which are helicopter charter companies specialising in island transfers, excursions and chartered scenic flights throughout the Seychelles. The Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) is the body responsible for regulating the air transport industry in the country.
Airports in Seychelles
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On 12-Aug-2013 a historic milestone rolls around, when Etihad Airways turns 10 years old. The carrier, which proudly advertises itself as the fastest growing airline in the history of aviation, has helped usher in a revolution that has reshaped the global airline industry.
Etihad Airways was born as the national airline of the UAE via a Royal Decree issued in Jul-2003. Less than six months later it began operations, with just one aircraft. It launched itself in the midst of a major shake-up of the Middle East’s market and with a mission to support the development of Abu Dhabi as a business and leisure destination and help realise the transformation of the city into a global hub.
A decade on, Eithad Airways has achieved its objectives. Through a combination of rapid organic growth, aggressive partnership development and innovative equity acquisitions, the carrier has become one of the headline players not only in the Middle East, but in global aviation. Few carriers can boast such success in such a small amount of time. Fewer still can claim to be part of a revolution that is helping to change how the world connects.
Air Seychelles announced a strong second quarter and half year financial performance as its turnaround strategy begins to deliver results. The carrier stood on the brink of collapse in 2011 before Etihad came to the rescue by taking a 40% equity stake.
Since its partnership with Etihad took effect in Jan-2012, a considerably slimmed-down Air Seychelles has demonstrated strong growth as it works to re-establish an international network through an increasing number of codeshare partners.
Air Seychelles forecasts that it is on track for a second year of profitability after reporting a USD1 million profit for the financial year to Dec-2012, having lost USD12.5 million in 2011.
Air Seychelles’ CEO, Cramer Ball stated: “We are creating a solid foundation for the future of our airline, Seychelles tourism and our home economy, and we are on track for a second year of profitability”.
Since reporting its maiden profit in 2011, Etihad Airways' financial results have shown steady and solid growth, even in the face of less than certain global economic conditions. The carrier’s 1H2013 results suggest the strength of its ‘equity alliance’ strategy, with the airline recording record double-digit growth in the period, with a particularly strong contribution from its partner airlines.
Revenue is at record levels, but the carrier only discloses bottom line results on an annual basis.
Etihad reported 2Q2013 passenger revenue of USD921 million, up 8% year-on-year. 1H2013 passenger revenue growth was even stronger, up 13% year-on-year to USD1.8 billion. Overall, total revenue (including cargo) grew to USD2.5 billion for the first six months of 2013, an increase of 14%. Of this, Etihad's partnership revenue comprised 20% of total passenger revenue in both periods.
Etihad Airways is looking to take its alliance and partnership strategy another step forward by negotiating a potential joint aircraft order. The joint purchasing of aircraft and other smaller products such as seats on the new 787 could provide some of the carriers that Etihad has invested in an economy of scale that otherwise would be unobtainable.
Etihad currently has codeshare partnerships with 43 carriers. Joint purchasing will likely be limited to some or all of the five carriers that are now partially owned by Etihad. So far negotiations with aircraft manufacturers have included airberlin, Air Seychelles and Jet Airways with Aer Lingus and Virign Australia potentially joining the discussions later. Other airlines that Etihad buys into in future could also join later but for now Etihad is not looking to expand its investment portfolio.
Etihad has emerged as a leader in building up partnerships outside the main global alliances. The Etihad alliance and similar initiatives by other non-aligned carriers have become a viable alternative to global alliances. A joint aircraft order would provide an example of the Etihad alliance even providing a significant benefit that global alliances have so far not been able to offer.
South African Airways has become the latest carrier to join the embrace of the Gulf carriers, signing a codeshare agreement with Etihad which adds 22 new codeshare connections between Africa and the Middle East and follows another important codeshare agreement with India’s Jet Airways. The agreements mark a shift for cash-strapped SAA towards recognition that as an end-of-line carrier it must develop a more virtual long-haul network. Such partnerships are part of SAA’s long term turnaround strategy and allow the carrier to extend its network without the need to commit capital to expensive long-haul aircraft.
SAA acting CEO Nico Bezuidenthout said the codeshare agreements would grow the carrier’s revenue, with initial expectations that the Etihad partnership would add about ZAR100 million (USD11 million) a year to revenue.
Meanwhile Etihad will increase its already comprehensive African coverage with the addition of SAA which improves access to the continent’s biggest economy.
Air Mauritius is well on the road to recovery, a year into a five-year plan that aims to implement a new business model that restructures its operations to become less dependent on traditional, but flagging, European markets and instead turn the airline’s focus to the growth markets around the Indian Ocean Rim and Asia.
A seven step recovery plan launched in Feb-2012 as profits crumbled into losses saw Air Mauritius undertake a major network consolidation which involved withdrawing its services to Germany, Italy and Switzerland as well as service reductions to China, Australia and Africa. But, with its network brought back into balance, and profitability restored, Air Mauritius has resumed a growth path with plans to launch a direct service to Beijing and reinstating some suspended routes and capacity in key markets.