Jet Airways flight takes off from the runway at the Mumbai’s ...

Air Seychelles, the national carrier of the Republic of Seychelles, today commenced thrice-weekly flights to the Indian city of Mumbai.

The historic maiden flight, operating under code HM 260, touched down at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 2:55 am, where it was greeted by a traditional water cannon salute and by a party of dignitaries and airport representatives.

Onboard the inaugural flight was a high-profile delegation comprised of Manoj Papa, Air Seychelles’ Chief Executive Officer; Sherin Naiken, Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board; Freddy Karkaria, Chairman of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association; government officials; tourism and trade partners; senior executives from the carrier; and representatives from the Indian and business communities, who participated in a cake-cutting ceremony shortly after disembarking.

Situated on India’s west coast, Mumbai is the financial and economic powerhouse of India and the home of Bollywood. With an estimated population of 21 million, it is the largest and wealthiest urban center in India, with a rising and significant tourism market.

Mr. Papa said the new Mumbai flights would meet growing demand for business and leisure travel between India and the Seychelles, as well as the Indian Ocean and East Africa.

“Mumbai is the 6th most-populated city in the world and represents a key strategic addition to our growing route portfolio. Our three weekly services, which have a capacity of over 21,000 annual seats, will increase the flow of tourism and trade from India into Seychelles and help boost traffic to our archipelago from the wider Asia region.

Flight HM260 operates on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, departing from Seychelles at 8:45 pm, and arriving in Mumbai early the next morning at 2:55 am. The aircraft has a short turnaround time of one hour, departing Mumbai at 4:00 am and arriving in Seychelles at 7:00 am the same day.

Minister Morgan said: “The launch of services to Mumbai is a natural and exciting development for Air Seychelles and the archipelago. Our connection to India was forged in the late 18th century and has since developed into a defining characteristic of our demography and culture today.

“Our Mumbai flights will strengthen these existing bilateral ties while stimulating the level of economic and commercial activity between Seychelles and India. The net level of trade between our countries grew to US$53.7 million in 2013, and with 1.5 tons of extra belly-hold capacity on our Airbus A320 per week, we can boost it even further.”

Minister Morgan noted there is strong interest in travel to Seychelles: “We are confident these flights will contribute significantly to inbound tourism from India. Our archipelago is well recognized as a premiere honeymoon destination and a choice filming location for Bollywood, and with sub five-hour flights, it means we are now more accessible than ever to both business and leisure travelers.”

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