AIR SEYCHELLES LOOKS TO THE FUTURE
Added information was received since breaking the news that Abu Dhabis national airline Etihad had acquired a 40 percent stake in Air Seychelles, which will lead to a new board of directors to be appointed in early February. Talks between the two airlines management has also mapped out a way forward for Air Seychelles, which has undergone some radical restructuring in recent weeks, with all European routes being phased out and handed over to Etihad under an extensive code share arrangement.
News from usually well informed sources are that Air Seychelles will later this year open new routes from Mahe to Abu Dhabi, code shared with Etihad, but also and more importantly to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Beijing, tapping into the growing Far Eastern market where China alone last year doubled their arrival numbers to the archipelago.
It is understood that the B767-300 fleet will still be returned to the lessors but that plans are being finalized to in turn acquire one or more long range Airbus models which would be used on the proposed new routes.
This development comes alongside plans to acquire a B737-800 covering the present destinations Mauritius and Johannesburg but also new African mainland destinations presently being evaluated at the Air Seychelles head quarters in Mahe to which Etihad will have the added access via further code share agreements.
Etihad will according to information now confirmed invest 20 million US Dollars in Air Seychelles, a capital injection matched by the Government of Seychelles, and in addition provide at least 25 million US Dollars in working capital to allow the airline meet current obligations and embark on a solidly financed new route expansion.
As earlier predicted Etihad has also announced that the present four flights a week between Abu Dhabi and the Seychelles will be increased to daily flights in the very near future, vastly improving connectivity to the archipelago from key European markets where flights will be code shared with Air Seychelles and carry an HM flight number alongside the main Etihad flight number. It is also expected that Etihads recent investment of buying a near 30 percent shareholding in Germanys second largest airline Air Berlin will benefit the Seychelles too as it will offer additional synergy effects in attracting more traffic from not just Germany but the Air Berlin network via Abu Dhabi to Mahe.
The announcements were made this afternoon in Victoria by the Seychelles Minister for Transport, the Hon. Joel Morgan and Mr. James Hogan, President and CEO of Etihad Airways.
Watch this space for breaking news and regular updates from the aviation industry across the Indian Ocean islands and from Eastern Africa.