Introduction

In a joint announcement with the Government of Seychelles on January 25, 2012, we revealed that a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed wherein Etihad would acquire a 40 percent stake in Air Seychelles Ltd. The investment was unveiled by James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, and Joel Morgan, Seychelles Minister of Home Affairs, Environment, Transport and Energy.

Air Seychelles partnership

Our investment of USD 20 million was matched equally by a capital injection from the Government of Seychelles.

In addition, we provided a shareholder’s loan of USD 25 million to meet working capital requirements and support network development.

James Hogan explained that the deal is consistent with our approach to expansion, which relies on the strength of strategic partnerships across the globe.

Investing in the national carrier of Seychelles is a natural step towards growing our operations in the increasingly important leisure markets of the Indian Ocean and Africa.

He said: “The Seychelles is a renowned leisure destination and its tourism industry is surging, as indicated by record-setting visitor numbers for the island nation in 2011. There is a need for greater connectivity to support this tourism boom, and both Air Seychelles and Etihad Airways are well-positioned to leverage that demand into substantial commercial growth.”

Air Seychelles extra routes

A five-year management contract for Etihad Airways was included as part of the agreement, with a focus on implementing strategic measures to encourage the long-term commercial growth of Air Seychelles.

In addition, Air Seychelles would have a presence in Etihad Airways offices across our network, leading to improved marketing possibilities for the country and its national carrier.

Importantly, the new partnership will further drive consolidation of key functions, resulting in significant cost savings and process optimisation. What’s more, Seychellois aviation professionals will be offered unprecedented career development opportunities and access to our state-of-the-art training academy and facilities in Abu Dhabi.

Joel Morgan said: “This is a game-changing strategic partnership for us, establishing Air Seychelles on a sustainable growth trajectory and offering a realistic way forward for long-term commercial growth.

The partnership simultaneously provides international presence, strategic penetration and a bright future for our national carrier.”

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Under the partnership

• Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles have together increased the frequency of flights between Abu Dhabi and Mahé from four per week to eight per week, as well as having providing new services to the islands; 

• Etihad Airways will work in conjunction with Air Seychelles to develop a renewed fleet and network growth plan for the island-based carrier;

• The airlines will sign a comprehensive codeshare agreement to include Etihad Airways-marketed flights across Air Seychelles’ network and Air Seychelles-marketed flights to Abu Dhabi and Etihad Airways destinations across Europe, the Middle East, the GCC, Asia and Australia. 

• Etihad Guest and Seychelles Bonus, the airlines’ loyalty programmes, will be integrated to include mileage earning and redemption on each other’s flights.

Guest experience

As part of our strategic partnership, we will work in conjunction with Air Seychelles to develop a renewed fleet and network growth plan for the island-based carrier.

The process has already commenced, with Air Seychelles welcoming its first Airbus A330-200 aircraft on July 5, 2012. Highlights of the aircraft include enhanced in-flight entertainment with personal, on-demand systems at every seat, a refreshed menu design, and a dine-on-demand personalised tray service and true lie-flat seats in business class.

The aircraft is named in honour of Aldabra Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Seychelles’ most remote and pristine islands. Aldabra, the world's largest raised coral atoll, is surrounded by a pristine marine environment, uninhabited and known for its distinctive fauna including the Aldabra Giant Tortoise.

Air Seychelles will take delivery of a second A330-200 aircraft in January 2013.

The strategic partnership allows for reciprocal lounge access for premium passengers and top-tier frequent flyers of Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles.

In terms of Etihad Airways lounges, our top-tier guests have access to the luxurious First Class and Business Class lounges at Abu Dhabi Airport, in addition to premium airport lounges across the world - including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

You can visit our cutting-edge interactive tour to explore the Etihad Airways lounges at Abu Dhabi Airport.

Etihad’s premium class guests can access the Air Seychelles lounge at Mahé International airport. The facility, named ‘Le Salon Vallée De Mai’, has been designed to reflect the unique beauty of the Seychelles and the warmth of the Creole Spirit, with a seating capacity of 90. In addition, Air Seychelles has airport lounges in Johannesburg (Shongololo Lounge) and Mauritius (Amedee Maingard Lounge).

Guest benefits

As a customer of Etihad Airways, you will receive a variety of benefits from our partnership with Air Seychelles, including new travel options with codeshare flights and greater opportunities to earn and redeem miles through the integration of the Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles loyalty programmes.

Codeshare agreement

Our codeshare flights with Air Seychelles have been available to purchase since January 26, 2012, a day after the announcement that Etihad Airways would take a 40 percent stake in the national carrier of the Seychelles.

Under the first phase of the agreement, our guests could travel to Praslin via Mahé, while Air Seychelles guests could travel nonstop to Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways.

The second phase resulted in Etihad Airways-marketed flights across Air Seychelles’ network and Air Seychelles-marketed flights to Etihad Airways destinations across Europe, the Middle East, the GCC, Asia and Australia.

Loyalty programme

Our strategic partnership with Air Seychelles integrates the Etihad Guest loyalty programme with Seychelles Plus, the frequent flyer programme of Air Seychelles. This brings you a host of benefits that are detailed more extensively on this Etihad Guest web page.

Following this integration on June 16, 2012, all Seychelles Plus members automatically received a new co-branded membership based on Etihad’s loyalty programme and their existing tier status was carried over too.

For example, Seychelles Plus Gold members were automatically enrolled as Etihad Guest Gold members. For guests of both programmes, the accounts (including mileage balances) were instantly merged.

Etihad Guest Miles can now be earned when traveling with Air Seychelles. Simply quote your Etihad Guest Number when making a booking with Air Seychelles and remember to present your Etihad Guest Card at check-in.

Frequently asked questions

What does this new partnership mean for me?

Numerous benefits have been created from our partnership with Air Seychelles, including new travel options with codeshare flights and greater opportunities to earn and redeem miles through the integration of the Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles loyalty programmes.

What are the immediate changes that might affect me?

For customers with pre-existing bookings, either through Etihad Airways, Air Seychelles or our other codeshare partners, there is no immediate change. Flight bookings, frequent flyer benefits and lounge access all remain the same for the immediate future.

What difference does a codeshare mean for me?

We started the sale of joint codeshare flights on January 26, 2012, resulting in a wide range of new choices for customers of both airlines, with one booking and one fare. Under the first phase of the agreement, Etihad Airways guests could travel to Praslin via Mahé, while Air Seychelles guests could travel nonstop to Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways. The second phase resulted in Etihad Airways-marketed flights across Air Seychelles’ network and Air Seychelles-marketed flights to Etihad Airways destinations across Europe, the Middle East, the GCC, Asia and Australia.

Are the Etihad Guest and Air Seychelles’ loyalty programmes impacted?

Our Etihad Guest loyalty programme has been integrated with Air Seychelles’ frequent flyer programme, Seychelles Plus, which means additional opportunities to earn and redeem miles. As part of the integration, which came into effect on June 16, 2012, all Seychelles Plus members automatically received a new co-branded membership based on Etihad’s loyalty programme. Etihad Guest Miles can now be earned when traveling with Air Seychelles. Simply quote your Etihad Guest Number when making a booking with Air Seychelles and remember to present your Etihad Guest Card at check-in.

What happens if I was already a member of Seychelles Plus?

The existing tier status of Seychelles Plus members was carried over to new Etihad Guest memberships. For example, Seychelles Plus Gold members were automatically enrolled as Etihad Guest Gold members. For guests with memberships of both programmes, the accounts, including mileage balances, were automatically merged.

How is this partnership different from other codeshare relationships?

We are developing a long-term strategic partnership with Air Seychelles, signified by our decision to acquire a 40 percent stake in Air Seychelles Ltd. Our investment of USD 20 million was matched by an equal capital injection from the Government of Seychelles. In addition, Etihad Airways also provided a shareholder’s loan of USD 25 million to meet working capital requirements and support network development.

What prompted Etihad Airways to form this partnership?

It’s all about choice. At Etihad, we have developed many partnerships over the last eight years and through our codeshare relationships, we already offer more destinations than any other Middle Eastern airline. With this Air Seychelles partnership, that choice increases even more.

Is group travel affected on these services?

Customers and travel agents will be able to make group bookings with either airline via specialised group bookings teams.