On the 50th anniversary of the opening of Seychelles International Airport at Pointe Larue, a major upgrade has been designed to cater for the increase in traffic at the airport, a top government official said on Friday.
A revision of the 2009 airport master plan was approved recently by the cabinet of ministers, making way for major development and extension of the airport.
The plan was designed by Singaporean firm CPJ Corporation, which also worked on Singapore’s award-winning Changi Airport.
“We recognised back in 2009 that aviation in Seychelles will get bigger and so a plan was put in place to develop the airport, heading into the next 40 or 50 years,” said Garry Albert, chief executive of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA).
Albert said that the previous master plan failed to materialise due to financial reasons, however, the need to develop the airport has become more evident.
“One of the main issues we are facing at the moment is with regards to parking for the airplanes. We have around five to six parking bays but with the increasing size of the planes using our facilities, we can only take three planes at once and very often we find ourselves having to ask private jets to drop their clients off and leave,” said Albert.
In a presentation on Friday, the principal secretary for civil aviation, Alan Renaud, shared what features they expect to retain from the 2009 masterplan when they work on the new one.
The 2009 plan was based on date and predictions made during that time. (Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority) Photo License: CC-BY
It includes a bigger passenger terminal, an airport hotel, moving the fuel farm and sewage facilities, a new cargo terminal, a new VIP complex and a technical zone.
“The 2009 plan was based on date and predictions made during that time but a lot of things have progressed far beyond expectations and this means that these new developments need to be taken into account if we are going to redevelop the airport at the current time,” said Renaud.
Renaud said that the tourism arrivals that were predicted for 2019 were around 280,000 people, but actual figures show during that year, the pre-pandemic era, there were over 460,000 arrivals at the international airport.
The new master plan will now have to take into account these new figures, development and technologies to create an airport that can carry Seychelles’ progress into the next 50 years, he added.
Seychelles International Airport was opened on March 20, 1972, by Queen Elizabeth II during the British colonial era. Throughout the years, several developments were completed to keep up with international standards and cater to the increasing number of airlines and visitors entering the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.