ETIHAD BUYS INTO AIR SEYCHELLES WITH A 40 PERCENT STAKE
Relations between the Seychelles and Abu Dhabi have always been friendly, if not outright tight, and when Air Seychelles announced before Christmas that they would cease their entire European operation by 10th January, and at the same time talked of a major code share arrangement with Etihad, Abu Dhabis national airline presently flying 4 times a week to Mahe, insiders knew something was cooking.
While in Bahrain for the Air Show opportunity arose to talk with Gulf aviation analysts and dissect the various strategies employed by Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad, the latter of course known to seek substantial share holdings in airline companies it sees as complementing their own operations and strategic outlook.
It is therefore no surprise that news are now breaking that Etihad, following high level talks between the Seychelles and Abu Dhabi governments and the two airlines, has agreed to purchase 40 percent of Air Seychelles.
The deal, while still awaiting official confirmation, will have a far reaching impact for the Seychellois national airline which is undergoing major restructuring at present.
Etihad, presently flying 4 times a week due to increase it is understood to daily frequencies very soon will be carrying the HM flight numbers from a number of European destinations Air Seychelles has previously served, such as London, Paris, Milan and Rome plus a number of other gateways from where traffic to the archipelago can be uplifted, and will be uniquely places to make up for the sudden cessation of flights by Air Seychelles, already much missed by their faithful passengers.
There is intense speculation that Air Seychelles may in fact fly some of the services between Mahe and Abu Dhabi themselves, if agreements can be reached on logistical issues, but in any case will the investment by Etihad in Air Seychelles be hugely beneficial for the airline in terms of financial and operational support.
Watch this space as more information comes to light during today and tomorrow and expect updates as and when available.