Launching of Air Seychelles-Etihad Airways partnership-‘New era for national air carrier,’ says minister


17-March-2012

Minister Morgan addressing guests at the launch ceremony

The occasion was hailed as a “new era” for Air Seychelles by Home Affairs and Transport Minister Joel Morgan, as it offers the same degree and standards as its bigger partner.

He said the partnership offers tremendous opportunities to Air Seychelles in terms of air access as it will be able to tap into Etihad’s huge global network.

The occasion was attended by former President James Mancham, several ministers, the chairman of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) Barry Faure, STB chief executive Elsia Grandcourt, the chairman of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA) Louis D’Offay and other key players in the tourism sector.

Mr Morgan noted that the partnership will not benefit tourism alone, but also other service providers as it will increase connectivity for the financial services and offshore sectors.

He said in return Air Seychelles will be providing Etihad with a base to tap into countries of the Indian Ocean, where we already enjoy excellent relations.

Both airlines will also be in a better position to tap many destinations with which Air Seychelles already has service agreements.

Turning to the first joint Air Seychelles-Etihad board meeting, Mr Morgan said it was all positive and about the re-positioning of Air Seychelles on a firm footing.

He announced that Air Seychelles will soon launch new routes, including Beijing, China, early next year.
Mr Morgan said that the strategic airline partnership would not have been possible without the special relations between the leaders of Seychelles and the United Arab Emirates.

He said this made it possible to turn Air Seychelles around after it faced severe financial difficulties in 2011, mainly linked to the worsening world economic situation and high fuel prices which made it difficult for small airlines to survive.
“Air Seychelles remains and will remain our national airline,” he said.

After watching a short video on Etihad Airways, the airline’s chief executive James Hogan said: “Seychelles is the most magnificent destination.”

He noted that Etihad is both the newest and fastest growing airline in the world.

Launched as recently as 2006, the airline  presently has 66 aircraft flying to 86 destinations, with some 100 planes on order – both Airbuses and Boeings.

Mr Hogan noted that besides Air Seychelles, Etihad holds 30% of Air Berlin and an equal stake in Virgin Australia.
He said the partnership provides both airlines with a major opportunity not only to connect to Abu Dhabi, but also to the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia.

 

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