President hails Etihad flights to Seychelles


The UAE ambassador and Etihad delegation during their meeting with President Michel yesterday at State House

“The Etihad flight will strengthen the excellent ties of friendship between Seychelles and Abu Dhabi and give greater value and choice for the tourism travel products that are available for travellers wishing to experience the Seychelles brand.  

“Etihad is a first-class airline and indeed was awarded the title of the World’s Leading Airline at the World Travel Market last year.  So I am sure that Seychellois as well as foreign visitors will enjoy their flying experience,” said President Michel.

The President thanked the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for its confidence in the Seychelles tourism market and said that the country would benefit from the new route in both the trade and tourism sectors.

“Seychelles will also benefit from the air links that Etihad offers to other destinations around the world, and increase the number of visitors from the Middle East, Asia and Australia, as well as the traditional European markets.

This is in line with the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) marketing strategy to diversify and aim at a more global reach rather than our traditional European markets.  I wish the Etihad venture every success,” said President Michel.

The statement from the President comes after he had earlier met a delegation from Etihad Airways headed by the UAE non-resident ambassador to Seychelles, Mal Allah Mubarak Suwaid Al Ameri.

Members of the delegation included the vice-president of Sale for Etihad, Hareb Al Muhairy, the vice-president of Etihad’s International and Public Affairs Vijay Poonoosamy, and the Etihad country manager for Seychelles, Rashed Al Shabi.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Mr Al Muhairy said that discussions with President Michel touched topics like Etihad-Seychelles and UAE-Seychelles cooperation and the ways they could be improved.

“Seychelles is a very important destination for the UAE and we are looking into possibilities of increasing the flights in the future,” he said.

Mr Al Shabi said their target group is a wide-ranging one, including UAE and Europe, since they have such a far-reaching flight network.

“From the Abu Dhabi side, we are strongly advertising Seychelles in many ways such as through television, newspapers, screens in shopping malls,” he said.

“On the Seychelles side, we already have recruited cabin crew locally and we also have a Seychellois pilot.”
The delegation also made a symbolic gesture in presenting President Michel with a replica of an Etihad airplane.

The Etihad Airways – which uses Boeing 320s that can carry around 136 passengers – had its inaugural flight to Seychelles on Wednesday this week from Abu Dhabi, starting its four-weekly flights to the islands.

The airline is for now doing its sales and operations services from an office based at the Seychelles international airport and will eventually open an office in Victoria.

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