CEO of Air Seychelles Remco Althuis. Picture: Supplied

CEO of Air Seychelles Remco Althuis chats with Clinton Moodley on the airline’s new A320neo, his travel hacks and his favourite destination in South Africa.

Can you tell us more about the new HM Airbus A320neo? The aircraft started flying into Johannesburg in August. 

The Air Seychelles A320neo is the world’s most advanced and fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft. Powered by the new generation CFM engine, the new aircraft offers 12 Business Class and 156 Economy Class seats. The new A320neo aircraft is named ‘Veuve’ after a critically endangered bird unique to the island of Seychelles. 

The new aircraft will allow Air Seychelles to increase capacity on its network while delivering significant fuel savings and reducing the airlines’ operating costs by delivering a 20 percent fuel cost per seat savings alone. The A320neo also offers significant environmental benefits with nearly a 50 percent reduction in noise footprint compared to previous generation aircraft.

What measures have you implemented to boost tourism between both South Africa and Seychelles?

South Africa remains one of the most popular destination routes for Air Seychelles. Over the past six months, the airline has carried over 30 000 visitors between Seychelles and Johannesburg.

Air Seychelles continues to maintain an excellent partnership with South African Airways. Through the codeshare partnership, the national airline of Seychelles can provide domestic connections within South Africa to Durban, Cape Town, East London, Port Elizabeth and Windhoek. In June this year, Air Seychelles also expanded its codeshare partnership with South African Airways to include its daily service to Perth.

Air Seychelles team also works closely with the Seychelles Tourism Board office based in Johannesburg in conducting joined sales calls, tourism fairs, marketing activities and collaboratively provide increased visibility about the national airline and destination Seychelles. 

WATCH: The making of Air Seychelles A320neo

Speaking of destinations, Air Seychelles will fly to Tel Aviv from November. Why this destination? 

The new service to Tel Aviv commences on November 27, 2019. It shall operate once per week on Wednesday evenings from Seychelles with the returning flight departing Tel Aviv on the same day. The flight has been carefully timed to provide business and leisure traveller’s convenient connections over Seychelles to Mauritius and Johannesburg. Tel Aviv is a vibrant shopping and nightlife experience, and close to Jerusalem. Flight connections from Tel Aviv provide the most direct and fastest ways to reach Europe or even the United States. 

What is a typical day for Remco Althuis like? 

I am usually awake by 6am. I love to have a cup of coffee while I catch with emails on my phone. If I am in Seychelles, I enjoy an early morning swim. I’m at the office by 8am. My day consists of meetings and calls with various stakeholders. I am always reading up on aviation news. 

What are the challenges of your job? 

The main challenge is to balance the interests of stakeholders, shareholders, employees, customers and trade partners. 

What makes you get up every morning? 

I started working in aviation 26 years ago, and there hasn’t been a dull day. It’s so dynamic. It’s a challenging industry with small margins, highly regulated and technically and operationally complex.  Customers put their trust in us to bring them to their destination safely and on time. It's a big responsibility we don’t take lightly. 

What is your favourite destination?

Vancouver Island in Canada. 

Best food you have eaten at a destination? 

I love Italian food!  I have had a fantastic Italian dinner at Campo de’ Fiori in Rome. The Chinese dumplings at Din Tai Fung deserve an honourable mention.

What are your top travel hacks? 

  • Carry a copy of your passport on your phone or stored in the cloud.
  • Travel as light as possible, and try to fit everything in your carry-on.
  • Buy a good water bottle, and fill it up wherever you can. 
  • Make sure you have something to watch or read. Stock up on content using the airport wifi.

What is your favourite place in South Africa? 

There are many beautiful places in South Africa. My family loves the drive from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.  We enjoyed Storms River and de Hoop Nature Reserve.

Who is your aviation role model? 

Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic. I admire her courage and determination.

What is the motto you live by? 

If you want to fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

Where are you travelling to next? 

Tel Aviv, Israel.