40 Percent Stake into Air Seychelles by UAE Carrier Etihad
Etihad buys into Air Seychelles
(eTN) - 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 January 10, and at the same time talked of a major code hare arrangement with Etihad, Abu Dhabi's 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 is 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, is due to increase to daily frequencies very soon, it is understood, and 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, the investment by Etihad in Air Seychelles will 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.