MIAMI – Today in Aviation, Mahé based Air Seychelles (HM) is formed in 1977 in the Republic of Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean.
For many years the islands had been difficult to access for tourists due to a lack of suitable airfields. This changed when Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) opened on March 20, 1972.
To cater to the growing tourism industry, the Government of Seychelles decided to merge two local carriers to form a national airline. Air Mahé and Inter-Island Airways became Seychelles Airlines, tasked with operating interisland air services. It was renamed Air Seychelles in September 1978.
Domestic services began with a fleet of Britten-Norman Trislanders, Islanders, and Shorts 360s. In 1983 a Douglas DC-10 was leased from Martinair (MP) to commence international flights to London via Frankfurt.
The fleet was expanded in 1989 with the arrival of the Boeing 767-200ER. Its delivery flight set a new world record for a commercial twin-jet, flying 14,311 km from Michigan, USA to SEZ. In total HM operated four -200ERs and three of the larger -300ERs.
Etihad Airways (EY) purchased a 40% stake in the airline in 2012. On May 1, 2021, EY sold the stake back to the Government of Seychelles for just US$1. Today, the carrier operates a fleet of two Airbus A320neos and five Viking Air DHC-6-400 Twin otters.
Featured image: Air Seychelles Airbus 320 neo S7-PTI – Photo: Air Seychelles via facebook