25 Mar 2013 03:00

Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, today commenced services to Hong Kong. 

Air Seychelles’ flight HM86 departed Mahe International Airport at 3.40pm Seychelles time yesterday and touched down at Hong Kong International Airport at 8.40am today after a brief transit stop at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The brightly coloured Air Seychelles’ Airbus A330-200 aircraft was farewelled at Mahe International Airport by a traditional Chinese Lion Dance and welcomed on arrival at Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong by water cannon salutes.

Today’s inaugural flight was the first of three weekly services between the Seychelles and Hong Kong, operated with equity and codeshare partner, Etihad Airways.

On board today’s flight was a delegation of senior government officials from the Republic of the Seychelles, the People’s Republic of China, and senior executives from both airlines.

Cramer Ball, Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer said: “The launch of services to Hong Kong is a momentous occasion for Air Seychelles, capping a remarkable year in which we returned to profitability.

“Through our partnership with Etihad Airways we have been able to transform our business and make improvements that we could not have achieved independently. 

“We have responded to demand from our affluent leisure and tourism guests, and introduced a new international inflight product with fully flat beds and restaurant-quality food and beverage service.  We now offer a business class experience, which is world-class, to rival any airline.

“With our special blend of Seychellois hospitality and unique Creole warmth your holiday begins as soon as you step on board.

“Guests travelling between Hong Kong and the Seychelles will remain on the same aircraft and keep the same seat for both legs of the journey, allowing a seamless journey through Abu Dhabi.

“Our new services offer an attractive new proposition for anyone wishing to visit the Seychelles, which last year won the Island Holiday Destination of the year in 2012 from the China Travel Industry Awards, and we are confident that demand for our services will grow.

“The new services also offer travellers from Hong Kong and nearby southern China the added benefit of seamless onward connections at Abu Dhabi to more than 20 destinations on Etihad Airways’ Europe, Africa, the GCC and Middle East network,” Mr Ball added.

His Excellency Joel Morgan, Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs and Transport and Air Seychelles’ Chairman said: "We are particularly excited about Air Seychelles’ new services as visitor arrivals from China have been doubling each year for the past three years, and 2013 is on track to continue the trend.

“We worked hard to make sure the necessary air service agreements were in place to support Air Seychelles' expansion plans and cater for the growing demand from Asia.  The agreements include the flexibility for codeshare agreements with other airlines. In the past two years, we have modernised our bilateral with China and Singapore, and concluded new ones with Hong Kong and South Korea.  We will add more in 2013.

“Air Seychelles’ new services to Hong Kong will have a substantive economic impact for Seychelles. As one of the world’s leading financial and commercial hubs, we expect to see not only a boost in visitor arrivals from Hong Kong, but also an expansion in trade and commercial activity."

Mr Ball thanked the Seychelles Government and Civil Aviation Authority and the Hong Kong Government and its Civil Aviation Authority for their support to enable the commencement of services to Hong Kong.

Air Seychelles flight HM86 operates on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, departing from Seychelles at 3.40pm, and arriving in Hong Kong the next morning at 9:40am. On the return, flight HM 087 departs Hong Kong at 6:55pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, arriving in Seychelles at 6:35am. All times are local.

The Air Seychelles’ Airbus A330-200 can carry 254 passengers with 18 seats in business class and 236 in economy class.

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