Air Seychelles has launched its new direct service from Mahé to Abu Dhabi, complementing air links currently being operated by Etihad Airways on the route.
The two-class Boeing 767-300ER series aircraft was seen off from Seychelles International Airport by Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer, local tourism and civil aviation officials and a lively group of Seychellois artists and dancers.
The launch of the new service follows the move in January by Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, to take a 40 per cent stake in the Air Seychelles.
There are now six return flights a week linking Abu Dhabi and the Indian Ocean archipelago – two by Air Seychelles and four by Etihad Airways – with plans to introduce a seventh service from June 2012.
Air Seychelles will offer 856 seats per week in addition to the 1,088 seats offered by Etihad Airways on its Airbus A320 flights.
The joint flight schedule enables optimal connectivity over Abu Dhabi to Etihad’s worldwide network, linking the Seychelles to destinations across Europe, the Far East, Australia, Indian Subcontinent and the Gulf region.
Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer, said: “This inaugural flight to Abu Dhabi is the next logical step in growing our relationship with Etihad Airways and the first big step in setting Air Seychelles back on the path to profitability.
“Reaching into the Gulf region and beyond will further stimulate the local tourism industry. The Seychelles is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and the extra flights will help ensure the recent record growth in visitor numbers continues.
“Air Seychelles is well-positioned to leverage that demand into commercial growth, particularly by tapping into Etihad Airways’ rapidly expanding global network.”