Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has announced it will commence operations to Mahé in the Republic of Seychelles on November 1, subject to government approval.

Etihad will operate four return services per week from its home base in Abu Dhabi to Seychelles International Airport in Mahé, operating Airbus A320 aircraft on the route, configured with two cabins – Pearl Business and Coral Economy – and offering 1,088 seats each week.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “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.

“Our increased frequencies from mid-2011 on some of our primary routes from Europe make the approaching Northern winter period an ideal time to launch these new services. We expect this will be a hugely popular destination, in particular for holidaymakers from the GCC and European markets, due to the ease of connecting services through Abu Dhabi and convenient scheduling.”

In addition to the leisure appeal of the Seychelles, the United Arab Emirates – and Abu Dhabi in particular – have an investment interests in the destination, further supporting Etihad’s entry on the route.

The Seychelles comprises 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, located off of the east coast of Africa.  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. The inner islands cluster mainly around the principal islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, forming the cultural and economic hub of Seychelles, as well as the centre of its tourism industry.

Etihad Holidays has a range of holiday options selected from the most spectacular of the 115 pristine, paradise islands of the Seychelles. Offering experiences for all budgets, Etihad Holidays can create packages for any type of traveller, whether it is for honeymooners or families, sun worshippers or divers. Packages include flights, hotel accommodation, island transfers and any number of the many tours and excursions on offer. For more information, call 800 2324 or visit an Etihad shop for more details.

The Seychelles will become the 68th destination on Etihad’s global network.

Flight Configuration: A320 Two-class aircraft, 16 Business class, 120 Economy class

Proposed schedule:

Flight # Departs Departure Time Arrives Arrival Time Frequency
EY622 Abu Dhabi (AUH) 10.00am Mahé (SEZ) 2.35pm Four per week:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday

EY621 Mahé (SEZ) 6.55pm Abu Dhabi (AUH) 11.30pm Four per week:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday