Etihad Airways will commence codeshare services to Hong Kong in February 2013 in partnership with Air Seychelles, subject to regulatory approval.
The three weekly return services between Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong will be operated by the airline’s equity and codeshare partner, Air Seychelles.
The new codeshare expands Etihad Airways’ network in Greater China, following the launch of services to Beijing in March 2008, to Chengdu in December 2011, and Shanghai in March this year.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways chief executive, said: “Hong Kong’s fast growing economy and booming middle class have brought a remarkable increase in the number of travellers in recent years.
“The new service connects two of the world’s leading international financial and tourism centres, a move we believe will stimulate the growth of commerce and trade between the UAE and China, the UAE’s second largest trading partner.”
The schedule also allows two-way connectivity between Hong Kong and the Seychelles, supporting a booming tourism industry on the archipelago.
The Seychelles is a visa-free destination, meaning all visitors can receive visas on arrival. Seychellois citizens are also not required to have visas for travel to Hong Kong.
Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles’ chief executive, said: “We see Hong Kong as a significant driver for future tourism growth in the Seychelles, so we are positioning Air Seychelles to seize the opportunity and support this vital market.”
The flight schedule will provide leisure and business passengers from Hong Kong with seamless connectivity through Etihad Airways’ hub in Abu Dhabi, to key destinations across the GCC and to key destinations in Europe including the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Ireland.
“With our 40 per cent equity stake in Air Seychelles, it makes strong commercial sense for us to work together on opportunities where cooperation is possible.
“The resulting synergies bring about significant efficiency benefits for both Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles,” Hogan added.
Air Seychelles will operate an A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration on the route, with 18 Pearl Business class and 236 Coral Economy class seats.
Etihad Cargo, a division of Etihad Airways, currently operates a three times weekly service from its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport to Hong Kong.
Etihad it recognised as the World’s Leading Airline by the World Travel Awards.