President Michel Visits The Staff Air Seychelles

21 March 2011 |

March 18 2011 -- President James Michel visited the Air Seychelles headquarters at Pointe Larue yesterday morning and reassured the staff that their jobs with the airline are safe.

He reassured all the 890-plus workers that none of them will lose their job in the airline's restructuring process.

"What is most important is the workers, who have worked so hard to develop the airline, to make it the pride of Seychelles that it is today and will continue to be," said Mr Michel.

His visit came only a few days after Vice-President Danny Faure told the National Assembly of the financial difficulties the airline is going through and the loss of €10.4 million it recorded last year.

The President was welcomed at Air Seychelles' new offices by executive chairman Maurice Loustau-Lalanne and public relations director Glenn Pillay.

Sales and marketing head Nichole Mancienne then led him on a guided tour of the first floor housing the marketing and sales department, which she heads.

Mr Michel next went up to the second floor where he was led by Captain François Jackson, who heads the services and operations section there.

The last leg of his tour was on the ground floor, which houses the human resources department headed by Marja Karjlanian and the IT department headed by Marc Chang-Lam....

Mr Michel then moved into the boardroom, where heads and representatives of various sections, including those from Praslin, had gathered to greet him.

Jean Laporte, who is responsible for the aircraft maintenance section, thanked the President on behalf of all the staff, and June Vadivelo presented him with a token of appreciation.

Speaking to the media afterwards, Mr Michel said he had been invited to visit the new Air Seychelles headquarters some time back, but because of his tight schedule with other visits and activities he had not been able to come until now.

"I am not a president who remains at State House and only monitors what is going on, but I go into the field to meet and talk to people and to see for myself what is really happening in the districts," he said.
He said the time he had chosen to visit the airline's base was opportune when Air Seychelles is going through some difficulties, and speculation is rife.

"I believe it was important that I come to bring my support to the staff and reassure them that Air Seychelles is there to stay as our airline," said Mr Michel.

 "It is important for our tourism industry that our airline remains and continues with the important job it is doing."

Mr Michel said he understands the difficulties the airline is going through, but it should not be forgotten that this is not the first time it has happened.
"Air Seychelles has encountered difficulties throughout its history, and this is normal for any business," he said.
"There are times when they thrive, but there are also times when they encounter difficulties. But the important thing is that where things are wrong we should work together to put them right."

Mr Michel gave as an example subsidies of around R20 million the government gave Air Seychelles in 1988 for it to remain in operation after airlines like British Airways and Lufthansa had stopped flying here.

In 1997 Air Seychelles recorded a loss of around US $10million, and the government had to inject money into the company to keep it operating.

A loss of US $5 million was also recorded in 1998 but a new structure was put in place soon after, a new management set-up followed, and agreements were signed that resulted in profits between 1999 and 2007.

In 2008 the world experienced an economic meltdown and many airlines suffered collapse. In Africa, some governments intervened to save their airlines but others that did not get help were closed down, said Mr Michel.

As for Air Seychelles, at that time it remained resilient and its staff and other partners worked hard to keep it going. But when it suffered from the impact of rises in fuel and service prices, this led to a loss of €10.4 million in 2010.

"This is a phase which we have to overcome, and today the government is taking measures to put in place structures to rescue it," said Mr Michel.

"And I am convinced that with the new management and new negotiations being carried out, the airline will overcome its difficulties and come out strongly to continue playing its important role in the country's economy."

Having taken time to talk to each member of staff present, Mr Michel said he feels their morale is high. They are all professionals who understand the challenges the aviation world is facing and they are working efficiently.

The President then congratulated them on their good work, calling on them to keep the Creole Spirit flying.

» View all