A third 19-seater Beechcraft airplane worth US $2.8 million has been added to IDC’s fleet of aeroplanes.
S7 ALP, names after Alphonse island, arrived in the country earlier this month from South Africa.
A ceremony to welcome the plane was held this morning at the IDC Aviation hangar at Point Larue.
Present for the ceremony were Vice President Ahmed Afif, Minister for Transport Antony Derjacques, IDC chairman Patrick Berlouis, Chief Executive of IDC Glenny Savy, Chief Executive of Al- Salaam Bank Asim Kumar, IDC board members and Aviation staff.
S7 ALP was bought in the United States of America (USA) following an upgrading maintenance of its cockpit and mechanical system. From there it flew to South Africa for internal refurbishment and painting in the IDC aviation colours.
In an interview after the ceremony, Mr. Savy claimed that for the further development needs of the outer islands, a third such aircraft was needed. He also claimed that as a result of the increase in the number of flights to the outer islands, the third aircraft would be handy in the case when another is undergoing maintenance works.
In his remarks the General Manager of IDC Aviation, Captain Marcus Labrosse said in view of continued development and activities happening on the islands, IDC has plans in the near future to replace the three Beechcrafts with a more comfortable and larger capacity fleet of ATR-42 aircrafts fabricated by a European company associated with Airbus.
In his speech to mark the occasion, Minister Derjacques said the new Beechcraft marks another milestone in IDC’s development.
“This shows that there is a thirst to continuously improve connectivity between our islands as well as our country to the world,” Minister Derjacques said, noting that IDC has been a significant contributor to the economy and foreign exchange earner.
The new Beechcraft was blessed by Deacon Louis Agathine from the Catholic Church after which the guests were invited for a tour on board.
The IDC bought its first Beechcraft in 1998 and a second in 2018. The fleet of aircraft also comprises a Dornier and a Y-12.
The tropical cyclone baptised Jobo, formed over the south-western Indian Ocean, hit some of our outer islands earlier this week with maximum sustained winds up to 130 km/h.
“Since Wednesday April 21, Farquhar, Assumption, Astove, Cosmoledo and Aldabra experienced heavy rains, strong winds and high waves but no major damage was caused,” IDC’s chief executive Glenny Savy said in a press conference held yesterday at the IDC (Islands Development Company) headquarters.
On his way back from UNESCO World Heritage site of Aldabra, President Ramkalawan and his delegation stopped on Astove and Farquhar for the official launch of the solar farms on these islands.
The project is an initiative of IDC as a source of alternative energy to reduce the costs and the amount of fuel used to power electricity generators on the islands. The project will also help to protect the environment from pollution.
Work on the two sets of solar farms commenced in October last year and completed in April.
The photovoltaic power station on Astove comprises 342 glass solar panels, capable of producing 150 KW of electricity, which will make up for 93% of the island’s consumption of electricity.
The one on Farquhar has 510 panels which gives an output of 250 KW of electricity. 94% of the island’s electricity needs will be produced by solar energy.
With the setting up on solar farms on another two islands, IDC will make further savings on fuel consumption and transportation of fuel to the islands. The money saved will go towards further infrastructure development on the islands.
The presidential delegation also stopped on Desroches to see ongoing work on the solar farm there. Its capacity will be 2.5MW and will come online in May.
The first solar setup on the outer islands on Alphonse was inaugurated in November 2018.
While on Desroches, the Presidential delegation made a tour of the island and visited the ICS Tortoise Sanctuary, IDC Village, Farm, Guest Houses and the North Point Nature Trail.
Present for the two inauguration ceremonies were the First Lady, Mrs Linda Ramkalawan, the Vice-President, Mr Ahmed Afif, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr Sylvestre Radegonde, the Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Mr Flavien Joubert, the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, Mr Naadir Hassan, the Chairperson of the Board of IDC, Mr Patrick Berlouis, the CEO of IDC Mr Glenny Savy, the Deputy CEO of IDC Mr Christian Lionnet, Member of the IDC Board Mr Denis Matatiken and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
IDC continues to invest in key infrastructure on the islands under its management.
Further to receiving Environmental and Planning Authority approval, work has started to construct an airstrip on Grand Ile - Cosmoledo Atoll.
A much needed infrastructure to ensure the safety and well being of the islanders. The possibility of having flights to the island will also increase significantly the air surveillance possibility of the atoll.
Thus far, access to the atoll included an air transfer to Astove and sea crossing to Cosmoledo. A risky and challenging affair especially during the south east monsoon.