Air Seychelles, the airline 40 percent owned by Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, has announced a major fleet and network expansion in Europe.
The plan will see the airline introduce a second Airbus A330 aircraft, commence non-stop services to Düsseldorf, Germany and Durban, South Africa, and significantly strengthen its existing regional network in early 2017.
The airline plans to establish the air bridge between Seychelles and Germany on March 30 2017, by launching a twice-per-week service to Düsseldorf, it said in a statement.
To further strengthen its European network, Air Seychelles will also upgrade its Paris service from three to four flights per week, with effect from March 28 2017, it added.
Effective March 30 2017, the Seychelles flag carrier will also commence a twice-weekly service to South Africa’s port city of Durban.
Roy Kinnear, CEO of Air Seychelles, said: “Air Seychelles has grown extensively and robustly in 2016 and is now ready to embark on the next exciting chapter of its evolution, further enhancing air access to our archipelago and bringing more holidaymakers and business people to our shores.
“Both stakeholders, the Government of Seychelles and Etihad Airways fully support the airline’s plan to develop its European network by establishing a non-stop connection to Germany, a strategically-important market that is currently the second-largest source of inbound tourism after France.
“More than 29,200 people from Germany have visited Seychelles so far this year, representing an increase of nine percent over 2015, demonstrating the importance of opening up air links to this part of the world.”
In addition to flying to Europe, the Airbus A330 will be used to increase capacity on the airline’s five-per-week regional services to Johannesburg, Mauritius and Mumbai which are currently operated on a narrow-body A320.
The introduction of a second wide body A330 will facilitate the upgrading of capacity on South Africa’s largest city Johannesburg on Thursdays and Saturdays, Mumbai on Saturdays and Mauritius on Sundays, increasing the combined seat capacity on these routes by 23 percent.
This will allow Air Seychelles to allocate an Airbus A320 to launch flights to Durban, the second point served by Air Seychelles in South Africa, offering 14,171 seats to and from Seychelles each year.