(eTN) – All eyes went skyward on the Seychelles’ main island of Mahe yesterday around 1330 local time as Air Seychelles’ second Airbus A330-200, named Vallee de Mai, after the most-visited tourism site on the islands, overflew the island from several directions before finally landing at the international airport. The sister ship, already in service since 2012, is aptly named “Aldabra” after the Seychelles’ second UNESCO World Heritage Site, carrying the message of conservation to wherever the airline flies to.
While the country’s tourism who’s who is marketing the archipelago at the ongoing ITB tourism fair in Berlin, Germany, the national airline received the new bird in preparation of launching flights to Hong Kong later in March, a route which will initially see three flights per week operated in full codeshare with partner Etihad via Abu Dhabi.
China has over the past years seen a significant rise in arrival numbers for the Seychelles, and the launch of flights to Hong Kong is seen as a key to further opening up what is fast becoming the world’s most important outbound market. Until now, only flights with other airlines connected China to the Seychelles, but the launch of flights by national airline Air Seychelles will mark a new opportunity to reach the Creole paradise islands.
The aircraft, originally flown by a leading Indian private airline, was prepared at Etihad’s maintenance base in Abu Dhabi where it was painted in the new livery of Air Seychelles and the cabin refurbished to match the two-class layout and appearance of the airline’s first A330 which has been in service since last year.
Welcome home and happy landings to the new bird, the crews, and all the passengers flying the “Creole Dream” to the Seychelles.