A delegation led by the Minister for Transport, Antony Derjacques, is attending the annual global Air Services Negotiation event (ICAN-2023), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that is being held between December 3 and 7, 2023.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation Air Services Negotiations 2023 is being hosted by the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia. A total of 400 delegates from 91 participating states are in Riyadh for this unique opportunity to meet many strategic partners and conclude arrangements for air services operations.
Seychelles will meet with 18 States and expects to sign bilateral air services agreements with four countries.
During the opening ceremony held on Sunday, December 3, 2023 at the Hilton Hotel and Residence in Riyadh, the President of the ICAO Council, Salvatore Sciacchitano, highlighted the importance of this annual meeting as the Organisation continues to support global recovery in travel.
He stated that “ICAO will continue its mandate and its commitment to continue engaging with different states such as the small island developing states (Sids), landlocked countries and the Least Economically Developed countries in the development of measures to foster cooperation in order to realise the long-term vision for air transport liberalisation and yield socio- economic benefits’.
In his introductory remarks, Abdul Aziz Al Duailej, President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia, emphasised Saudi Arabia's achievements in executing policies to open up its air transport sector.
Minister Derjacques is accompanied at the event by the principal secretary for Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Alan Renaud, and the chief executive of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), Garry Albert, and representatives from the Ministry of Transport and SCAA.
Praslin has achieved another milestone with the stone laying ceremony on Saturday for a Vehicle Testing Station (VTS) on Eve Island, next to the Vijay swimming pool, and opposite the Praslin fire station.
The short ceremony was in the presence of the Minister for Transport, Antony Derjacques; the principal secretary for land transport department, Patrick Andre; government representative for Praslin, Vincent Cedras; members of the National Assembly; district administrators; staff of the land transport as well representative of Island Holding Contractor, a subsidiary of Allied Builders Company, Bhavik Metha.
It was Minister Derjacques and PS Andre who laid the foundation stone, and they were joined by the government representative for Praslin and MNAs for the unveiling of the commemorative plaque.
Discussion for the construction of the station was initiated in 2016 and in 2020 mobilisation began for the realisation of the project which is part of the ministry’s efforts to decentralise its services and bring them closer to the community.
“Since 2021, the Vehicle Testing Station on Mahé has taken a different approach and I am pleased to say that the station on Mahé has seen positive results since the implementation of the appointment system. Indeed, I have no doubt that once operational, the Vehicle Testing Station on Praslin will share the same success story.”
Minister Derjacques recounted the improvements in VTS services and went on to explain the purpose of the station on Praslin.
“First and foremost, the new Vehicle Testing Station will allow us to ensure that all vehicles on Praslin are subjected to a thorough examination and inspection to ensure that they are all roadworthy. This will help the ministry and the department to achieve our objective of making roads safer. It will also benefit the police department, particularly in cases of accidents, to receive accurate mechanical status of vehicles involved. ”
The facility will include accommodation for VTS staff travelling to the inner islands which will allow for increased frequency of vehicle testing on La Digue, a room for driving theory tests as well as provision for pre-test assessment to identify parts of vehicles that require improvement before performing the complete test.
Currently vehicle testing takes place once a week on Praslin and this is expected to increase to twice weekly and on La Digue testing which is done every two months will eventually be done once a month.
The stone laying ceremony means completion of groundworks and the start of the main stage of construction of the R12 million facility which is expected to last for 11 months.
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Principal Secretary Alan Renaud invited to showcase Seychelles' Innovative Journey in Traveler Identification and Border Security
Seychelles has taken center stage at the Eighteenth Symposium and Exhibition of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Traveller Identification Programme (TRIP) in Montreal, Canada, from September 12 to 14, 2023. The spotlight is on the successful rollout of Seychelles' new ePassport, a remarkable achievement that further enhances the nation's international standing.
Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation, Alan Renaud, had the honor of sharing profound insights on 'The Seychelles Experience in implementing ePassports.' His presentation offered valuable perspectives on Seychelles' journey and the robust security measures in place to safeguard these critical travel documents, ensuring their integrity and adherence to ICAO's stringent security standards.
Seychelles has not only introduced secure biometric passports but has also pioneered biometric screening on arrival, digitalized Immigration Forms for arrival and departure, and automated passenger risk-assessment and screening. The comprehensive biometric border security program, known as SEBS (Seychelles Electronic Border System), includes a Border Management System, Multimodal API-PNR Targeting System, and an electronic Travel Authorization system, making borders smarter and more secure. Already the strongest passport in Africa, the introduction of the Seychelles biometric passport is expected to further strengthen Seychelles’ international standing.
These achievements have already made a significant impact internationally, with the recent Level 1 Accreditation of the International Airport by the Airports Council International (ACI). Seychelles stands as the only country in Africa to fully comply with the UN/ICAO mandate on API-PNR. These milestones affirm Seychelles' commitment to ICAO's TRIP Strategy, encouraging Member States to build robust traveler identification processes.
Seychelles' success story is rooted in a holistic approach, underpinned by cutting-edge technology and interdepartmental collaboration. This achievement reflects the nation's unwavering commitment to progress.
Alan Renaud, Principal Secretary for Civil Aviation in Seychelles, brings extensive experience in traveler identification and border security to the global stage. With a background spanning 15 years as an airline executive, and over 4 years in his current role, he has played a pivotal role in key initiatives, including a critical cutover of the national airline's passenger reservation system and overseeing the implementation of the islands' API-PNR and Travel Authorization systems in 2020. Renaud's role is a recognition of the collective efforts of dedicated professionals across government agencies.
"In Seychelles, we believe in the power of innovation and cooperation. Our journey in traveler identification and border security is a result of collaborative dedication, exemplifying Seychelles' unwavering commitment to progress and global excellence. Our pursuit of cutting-edge traveler identification isn't only about us; it's about safeguarding global security and making every journey a secure one," says Renaud.
During his presentation, Mr. Renaud shared heartfelt anecdotes that resonated with the audience, illustrating the significance of their journey in embracing innovation and enhancing security. He emphasized the importance of these efforts in a connected world, where a stolen passport can become a weapon.
The ICAO TRIP Symposium serves as a platform to discuss the latest advancements in traveler identification and border security. The 2023 edition emphasizes leveraging technology to enhance the traveler experience while ensuring stringent security measures post-COVID-19. Seychelles' introduction of biometric passports in late 2022 and the Seychelles Electronic Border System align with these goals, strengthening the nation's position in global travel.
Mr. Renaud's presentation highlights Seychelles' commitment to innovation and security in travel documentation, contributing to global discussions on traveler identification and border management.
For more information on the ICAO TRIP Symposium, please visit the ICAO website: https://www.icao.int/Meetings/TRIP-Symposium-2023/Pages/default.aspx
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The Diguois are proud of their new port extension and specialization after approximately 17 months of construction. The much needed port extension was officially opened by the Minister for Transport, Antony Derjacques and the President of the Republic, Wavel Ramkalawan through the unveiling of the inaugural plaque.
The improved, extended and now specialized port will now meet the growing number of visitors and cargo to the island of La Digue. It will also compliment the recent projects on Praslin namely the ERO terminal and the new Coast Guard base at Baie Ste. Anne.
The project is of a sum of 33.8 million rupees fully funded by the Seychelles Port Authority (SPA). It is one of the proudest achievements of the Ministry of Transport as it an entirely Seychellois owned and invested project with partners such as the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), Seypec and the contractor being UCPS.
The facility includes a new passenger terminal, cargo terminal, 126m long ramp, pontoons fueling and marina facility and extended groins and channels to facilitate mooring of boats.
The project has been most especially a public project with a steering committee that was setup at the early stages of the project to facilitate the communication of progress and difficulties that the project faced.
Minister Derjacques thanks all the stakeholders who have play a role in making this project a reality especially the SPA staff, UCPS and SFA who has been very flexible in accommodating the many requests.
The President also commended the good collaboration and encourages such collaborations to ensure that projects are smartly planned and executed.
“Today is a very proud moment for me as I trace back my visit to La Digue in November 2020 when we made the engagement that this much-awaited project will come to reality,” says President Ramkalawan.
More improvements will be made to the La Digue port such as a modern passenger terminal building that will offer more choice and comfort for passengers.
The ceremony ended with a tree planting activity by the President Ramkalawan, Minister Derjacques and the Designated Minister Ferrari and a tour of the facility.
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The newly accredited Ambassador for Oman Saud bin Hilal Al-Shidhani expressed his keen interest in partnering with the Seychelles in the transport sector more specifically within the marine ports. This was said during a courtesy visit to the Minister for Transport- Antony Derjacques this morning at Botanical House.
The coastal country has similar transport challenges as the Seychelles and wishes to expand ties for greater growth for both parties. Ambassador Al Shidhani explains that Oman with a population of 4.6 million faces certain difficulties to develop transport infrastructures. Yet with the good leadership of his Excellency Sultan-Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, the country is now making many reforms that are yielding good fruits.
Ambassador Al Shidhani, explained various aspects of the Omani transport system and development while reiterating his strong desire for collaboration that will help Seychelles develop its port infrastructure, free zone, shipping line and ferries.
He has also extended his warm welcome for Minister Derjacques to visit Oman and witness the capacity of the Omani ports namely the Port of Sohar which is the main commercial port taking up more than 60 million tons of cargo.
On the other hand, Minister Derjacques explained various ports achievements namely the new Ero Terminal on Praslin in February, the Baie Ste. Anne maritime base last week and the inauguration of the La Digue port this week as well as the crucial redevelopment of the Victoria port that is expected to go to the tender phase very soon.
Both parties recognized that there is a need for improved trans-shipment within the East African region and the expertise of Oman will be most vital. Minister Derjacques explains that will bring more efficient and rapid trade in the region and really enable Seychelles to be a trading hub for the region.
Also on the agenda of Seychelles and Oman, is the upcoming International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN) conference in December 2023 whereby an air service agreement is expected to be signed on the sidelines of the event.
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Air Seychelles, the national carrier of the Republic of Seychelles announces a profit of USD 8.4 million for the year 2022.
This was the first year of profit for Air Seychelles since 2016 when it reported a small gain of USD 425k.
After reporting a loss of USD 22.7m in 2021 and starting the year 2022 with a negative net asset position of USD 100.6m, the year 2022 was one of exceptional recovery for Air Seychelles. Prior to the start of 2022, the airline had suffered the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which included the shutting down of its key routes and the shrinking of its revenue streams.
Through the Company Reorganization (Administration) process, Air Seychelles paid the agreed settlement of USD 28.16 owed to the Bondholders in May 2022. The payment was made from a USD 16.5m bank loan from Nouvobanq and USD 11.7m of Air Seychelles’ cash reserves. This marked an incredible achievement, closing the chapter on the USD 71.5m debt burden that the company had been carrying since 2015/16.
Air Seychelles successfully exited the Company Reorganisation in November 2022 and ended the year with a positive net asset position of USD 19 million. This is an improvement of USD 104 million from its net asset position of negative USD 85 million at the start of the Company Reorganisation process.
This remarkable restructuring success was further backed by an impressive upswing in the company’s operational and ongoing financial performance. Overall revenue had recovered to 93% of 2019 levels for the year and even exceeded 2019 levels in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The company managed to almost fully utilise the international jet aircraft, with one aircraft dedicated to ACMI operations while the other operated the scheduled flight operations. Regular, scheduled operations were re-established to Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, Mauritius and Mumbai, with a seasonal Almaty operation launched in December.
By the end of 2022, the company had achieved an overall profit of USD 119.6m and, after excluding the debt write-off gains from the debt discounts during the company reorganisation process, made a profit of USD 8.4m. This profit enabled Air Seychelles to make repayments on its debt obligations.
The Board of Directors and the acting CEO would like to extend their gratitude to all its employees, the Government of Seychelles, the Administrators, the creditors, its legal counsels, and the general public for their contributions and support provided to the company in achieving one of the greatest positive turnaround in the history of Air Seychelles.