Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways plans to launch service to Mahé in the Republic of Seychelles on November 1, subject to government approval.
Etihad Airways will operate four round-trips each week from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) in Mahé, using Airbus A320s with 136 seats: 16 in Pearl Business and 120 in Coral Economy.
Flights will leave Abu Dhabi on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00 a,m, and arrive in Mahé at 2:35 p.m. Return flights from SEZ will depart at 6:55 p.m. and arrive at AUH at 11:30 p.m. (Both airports are in the same time zone.)
“The Seychelles has strong and growing appeal as a premium leisure destination, with increasing numbers of UAE residents and European travellers holidaying there. With the recent honeymoon of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Seychelles is likely to gain new interest as a destination of choice,” says James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive officer.
The Seychelles comprises 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, located several hundred miles off the east coast of Africa, both north and south of the equator. The 41 inner islands constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth, with another 74 islands forming the low-lying coral atolls and reef islands of the outer islands.
Featuring Créole as the population’s primary language, the inner islands cluster mainly around the principal islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. These islands form the cultural and economic hub of Seychelles, as well as the centre of its tourism industry.
The Republic of Seychelles is known for its unique flora and fauna, particularly the Coco de Mer palm – the very large fruit of which looks like a human female’s pelvic region – and the islands’ Giant Tortoises, some of which are more than 200 years old.
Etihad Airways bills itself as the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and in 2010 carried more than seven million passengers. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad serves 67 cities in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America (New York, Chicago and Toronto), with a fleet of 57 Airbus and Boeing aircraft. The airline currently has 100 aircraft on order, including 10 Airbus A380s.