(eTN) – Air Seychelles has confirmed that the codeshare deal signed with partner airline, Etihad, Abu Dhabi’s national airline, will open up the Australian market for the Indian Ocean archipelago.
The new arrangement offers seamless connections through one of the daily joint flights between Mahe and Abu Dhabi, to continue to Melbourne and Sydney. Etihad presently flies 10 times a week to Sydney and daily to Melbourne, effectively opening up a new source market for tourist visitors.
Cramer Ball, CEO of Air Seychelles, was reported to have said on the signing of the agreement: “We are delighted to enhance our codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways, offering our guests seamless connectivity to and from Australia over Abu Dhabi. Not only does this offer more opportunity for Australian business and leisure travelers to come to Seychelles but it also introduces a simple and appealing travel option for Seychellois traveling to Sydney and Melbourne. Australia hosts the largest Seychellois diaspora in the world, and as the national airline of Seychelles, we are proud to introduce a new air link between the two countries.”
The announcement came following the signing of an MOU in January between Australia and the Seychelles for the establishment of flights between the two countries. Tourism stakeholders have welcomed the new deal and expressed their hope that other parts of the world can also soon be accessed through an “HM” flight number, attached to Etihad’s services from Abu Dhabi. At least 25 codeshare destinations have been put in place since the start of the partnership, most of them operated by Etihad, while Air Seychelles has in turn signed similar deals with Air Berlin, another Etihad partner airline, as well as with KLM to and from Amsterdam.
Flights directly operated by Air Seychelles, in which Etihad is codesharing, are the services from Mahe to Abu Dhabi and from Mahe, via Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong, the latter being taken up by growing numbers of passengers. Air Seychelles currently operates two Airbus A330-200 aircraft and besides Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong also flies to Mauritius and Johannesburg. Other destinations on the African mainland and overseas are reportedly under consideration although no details have been released yet.