It has now been confirmed that Air Seychelles will launch nonstop flights, twice a week, between Mahe and Abu Dhabi as of 12th March, alongside the present 4 frequencies by Etihad, Abu Dhabis national airline, which now owns 40 percent of its shares. The airline will use one of their B767-300 aircraft in a two class configuration, and codeshare with Etihad, to Abu Dhabi and beyond.
The same source also confirmed that by June 2012 the number of flights between Mahe and Abu Dhabi will be raised to 7 a week, offering daily connections to the Seychelles from across the Etihad network via their hub. It is not clear at this time if the 7th flight from June this year onwards will be operated by Etihad with their A320 aircraft or by Air Seychelles using their B767.
Etihad started operations to the Seychelles only in early November last year and then invested 20 million US Dollars in Air Seychelles against a 40 percent shareholding, following an agreement between the two governments to part privatize the airline. With the injection of a further 25 million US Dollars in working capital it set Air Seychelles on a recovery path which will manifest itself in coming months with the introduction of new aircraft, expected to be an A 320 to cover flights from Mahe to Mauritius and Johannesburg, as well as new routes to the African mainland, while the B767s are expected to be exchanged for the more fuel efficient A330s to launch new destinations in the Far East. Watch this space for aviation news from the Indian Ocean islands.