Aeroflot is planning to resume flights to Seychelles within the next couple of months with some technical details still under discussion so as to finalise all the arrangements for the direct air link, according to the Russian Embassy in the island nation.
"There is an air service agreement in force between Seychelles and Russia and the restart of the Aeroflot flight will be in strict accordance with this agreement. The same has been confirmed by Seychelles' side. This will allow more Russian tourists to come to Seychelles," said the embassy.
The director general for destination marketing, Bernadette Willemin, told SNA that "Aeroflot has shown great interest in resuming its route to destination and although we cannot yet confirm the dates, we have been informed by our partners that a potential flight for October is available in the booking system."
She added that her department is anticipating that once Aeroflot is back, its potential to increase its frequency on the Seychelles route would follow rapidly similarly to what happened in 2021.
"We know that our destination is in high demand in Russia. In 2021, we had seen that as the availability of flights became more regular, we started seeing the different segments picking up. With the resumption of a direct flight between Moscow and Seychelles, we are expecting to see a notable boost in our visitors' arrival numbers from Russia and its neighboring regions," said Willemin.
She added that "visitors currently traveling to our destination are doing so through hubs and they are often discouraged by the challenges such as language and flight connectivity, among others."
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), as of July 24, 2022, Russia stands in third place in terms of visitor arrivals to the island nation. A total of 16,769 Russians came to Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, from the start of the year to July 24, mostly onboard Emirates and Qatar Airways flights.
Aeroflot resumed its operations to Seychelles in April 2021 following a 17 years hiatus. In 2021, Russia was the top tourism market, contributing 32,000 of Seychelles' total of 182,849 visitors.
The national carrier of Russia canceled its flights to Seychelles on March 9 after the airline had issued a press statement saying that all international flights, except those with Minsk in Belarus, would be temporarily suspended as of March 8.
The airline was flying to the island nation four times a week.
According to a recent article from the Association of Tour Operators, direct flights are expected to be operated twice weekly, on Thursdays and Sundays.
"According to tour operators, the resumption of Aeroflot flights to Seychelles will definitely increase demand in the direction, especially with the current shortage of foreign destinations for direct transportation. PAC Group expects at least 20 percent increase in tourist flow," the article states.