Etihad-backed Air Seychelles unveils expansion plan

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Air Seychelles, in which Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways holds a 40 percent stake, on Monday announced a major expansion to its international services.

The airline unveiled a new regional network plan, subject to approvals, which will see significant expansion of its operations in the Indian Ocean in Q4 2014, following the delivery of an Airbus A319.

The expansion will see the launch of services to Antananarivo, Reunion and Mumbai, an increase in services to Abu Dhabi from seven to 11 flights per week and three return flights per week to Mauritius.

The airline will also offer three return flights per week to Hong Kong, three return flights per week to Johannesburg, and two flights per week to Paris-Orly.

Altogether, the airline will see its weekly international services nearly double from 16 to 29 flights per week.

Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles CEO, said: "The new schedule will see Air Seychelles spread its regional footprint and build a solid position that will establish us as the carrier of choice in the Indian Ocean.

"It also greatly increases options for travel to and from the Indian Ocean, and with our new flights to Paris-Orly, we will also enjoy network feed provided by our convenient schedule times over Abu Dhabi, contributing to the bottom line."

Last month, Air Seychelles said it has almost doubled international passenger numbers in the past year.

More than 55,000 people flew on Air Seychelles international flights during the third quarter, compared to 28,847 in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, total passenger numbers who travelled on domestic services grew by 42.4 percent to 99,946.

Etihad bought a 40 percent stake in the airline in January 2012, in a joint-investment agreement with the Seychelles government.

The UAE national carrier also lent the airline $25m to help it expand.

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