Air Seychelles - Airbus A320-200 and Airbus A330-200
The Seychelles Islands are some of the most beautiful islands on the planet and when the time came to update the Air Seychelles livery, they took inspiration from the local scenery and produced one of the most colourful liveries in aviation. Two of the aircraft to wear the gorgeous Air Seychelles livery have been Airbus A330-200 A6-EYY and Airbus A320 S7-AMI.
Seychelles is a special place for me as my fiancee was born and lived there for the first twenty years of her life and it was where I asked her to marry me earlier this year.
The Real Deal(s)
Because we are looking at two aircraft today, we shall start with the older of the two which is the Airbus A320 S7-AMI.
Airbus A320-200 S7-AMI
S7-AMI rolled off the production line in early 2003 and conducted it's first flight as F-WWDC on January 24, 2003 before being delivered to Martinair (Holland) on March 28, 2003. F-WWDC was the 1944th Airbus A320 to be built by the French manufacturer.
Once the aircraft had been delivered to Martinair, it became PH-MPD and served with the Dutch carrier from 2003, flying to many Martinair destinations across Europe, before being placed into storage in November 2007 at Châteauroux-Centre Airport in France.
PH-MPD found a new home in January 2008 when it became A6-EIA for Etihad Airways. A6-EIA was one of the first Airbus A320s operated by the Abu Dhabi based carrier flying short hops across the Middle East and into Europe and Africa.
A6-EIA was with Etihad for almost seven years before the carrier decided to operate it on behalf of Air Seychelles, an airline that Etihad had, in 2012, bought a 40% stake in.
A6-EIA was painted into the gorgeous Air Seychelles scheme and recieved the name "Amirantes", which is an atoll of islands located about 250km south of the main island Mahé. A6-EIA was operated by Etihad Airways on behalf of Air Seychelles until May 2015.
In May 2015, A6-EIA became S7-AMI and was leased to the Seychellois carrier where it currently remains in service to this day. The Seychellois carrier will be receiving new A320Neos this July so S7-AMI's days in service in paradise are numbered.
Airbus A330-200 A6-EYY
Next up is Air Seychelles Airbus A330-200 A6-EYY which began life for Airbus as F-WWKB just over 13 years ago and took to the skies for the first time on April 20, 2006 before being the first A330 to be delivered to the now defunct Jet Airways in India.
F-WWKB was delivered to Jet Airways on May 31, 2006 and was re-registered VT-JWD and entered service until Dec 2008 when it was leased/charted by Gulf Air until March 2009.
VT-JWD wasn't back with Jet Airways long, two months in fact, before it was leased out to Oman Air and repainted into the stunning Oman livery.
VT-JWD served with Omani national carrier for only seven months before returning to India and taking up service for Jet Airways once again.
Jet Airways had VT-JWD from December 2009 until it was withdrawn from service in April 2012.
VT-JWD was then transferred to Etihad Airways, a major shareholder in both Jet Airways and Air Seychelles and entered service as A6-EYY for Air Seychelles but operated by Etihad Airways.
The aircraft was named Aldabra, after the world's second largest coral atoll. The Aldabra atoll is one of two UNESCO World Heritage sites in Seychelles and home to the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, one of the largest tortoises in the world.
A6-EYY was operated by Etihad for Air Seychelles until October 2015 when it was transferred to Air Seychelles and re-registered as S7-ADB.
Unfortunately, Air Seychelles had to suspend it's A330 flights to Europe and the S7-ADB was withdrawn from use in Feb 2018 and stored in Abu Dhabi until a new lessee or owner could be found.
In April 2018, a new lessee was found with Fiji Airways leasing the aircraft for four years. This was to cover the period before a new widebody type could enter the Fiji fleet. S7-ADB became DQ-FJO and was named Island of Beqa.
The aircraft was repainted and entered service with Fiji Airways on May 12, 2018 and is current with them today and will stay in the fleet until 2022 when two Airbus A350s are delivered.
The Collectors Items
Like above, we will start with the Airbus A320.
Phoenix produced this model in late 2016 and has been the only manufacturer to release an Air Seychelles A320. The model looks great, the landing gear leaves a little to be desired but given that so far it's the only Air Seychelles A320, it will do.
It's not a rare model at all as most major 1/400 model stockists still have it available and there are quite a few copies available off eBay.
The Airbus A330-200 was a different story with both Aeroclassics and Phoenix producing this model, Aeroclassics and Phoenix produced A6-EYY and Phoenix also produced sistership A6-EYZ.
I have the Aeroclassics version and their A330 is without doubt one of the finest 1/400 moulds out there. The model looks amazing, they really captured the Air Seychelles livery except for the red on the tail which is too light and in some spots almost pink. Having seen the real thing in person on multiple occasions I can say that the red on the tail of the Aeroclassics version is too light and not quite right.
I'm very gald to have both of these in my collection given my ties to the tiny island nation and now my hunt begins to track down the Aeroclassics A300 and 707 in the first Air Seychelles colour scheme.
If you get the chance, visit Seychelles as well. It is a place you must visit once in your lifetime!