Air Seychelles international network extends to Italy, codeshare agreement signed with Alitalia
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles’ visibility as a holiday destination amongst Italian tourists and the possibility for more Seychellois to travel to Italy is set to increase now that the national airline, Air Seychelles has signed a codeshare agreement with Alitalia, Italy’s leading airline, Air Seychelles has announced in a press statement issued this morning.
“Air Seychelles’ HM flight code will be placed on Alitalia’s five weekly return non-stop flights between Rome and Abu Dhabi, and on ten connecting flights to Milan via Rome, and twelve connecting flights to Venice via Rome,” reads the statement.
“Alitalia in turn will place its AZ code on seven of Air Seychelles’ return flights between Abu Dhabi and Seychelles, and on 47 flights per week to and from Seychelles’ second largest island, Praslin, permitting stopovers on the main island of Mahé.”
Air Seychelles said the agreement will allow customers from both airlines to fly between Rome, Milan and Venice to Seychelles via Abu Dhabi, with just one ticket for their entire journey.
Alitalia’s Chief Executive Gabriele del Torcho who said it was important to increase connections between Italy and Seychelles is of the view that adding Praslin to its network will make the route even more attractive to Alitalia’s clients.
|Alitalia Airbus Francesco Agello departing Toronto Lester B Pearson International Airport, Ontario, Canada on 1 September 2012 (BriYYZ/flickr) Photo License: CC-BY-SA 2.0|
Italy is currently the Seychelles’ third leading market.
According visitor arrival statistics from the Seychelles National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, as at July 27 some 10,243 Italian tourists had come to Seychelles.
Germany is currently the leading market with 18,791 visitors followed by France which has always been Seychelles leading market with 18,435 visitors.
Air Seychelles Chief Executive Manoj Papa has said the codeshare agreement between the national airline and Alitalia will strengthen business and leisure travel connections between Seychelles and Italy.
“The partnership with Alitalia also enhances Air Seychelles’ visibility in the Italian market, as together, we deliver more choice and connectivity for visitors, especially to Seychelles’ second largest island, Praslin,” said Papa in the statement.
“We are also delighted to add the romantic city of Venice to the Air Seychelles codeshare network, providing guests with a new and exciting European destination to explore.”
In a bid to improve connections between Seychelles and Europe specifically the French market, Air Seychelles resumed flights to Paris earlier this month after a two year absence.
The national airline into a strategic partnership with Etihad in 2012, where the UAE carrier bought a 40 percent stake, which enabled Air Seychelles to sell codeshare tickets on its European destinations, and others around the world.
The island nations’ airline also has codeshare partnerships with airberlin, Cathay Pacific Airways and South African Airways, extending its network to 39 cities around the world.
Meanwhile it has also been announced that Alitalia is planning to conclude an agreement with UAE’s Etihad Airways which will possibly see Etihad acquire a 49 percent stake in the Italian carrier.
Alitalia has been facing financial trouble after it has not been able to compete with low cost carriers and high speed trains.
According to reports in the international media Alitalia announced following a board meeting on Friday August 1 that the deal with Etihad is expected to be signed on August 8 though final details of the deal still need to be finalized.
Talks on the matter have been dragging for the last seven months.
Italy’s Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi is reported to have said that Etihad is prepared to invest up to 1.25 billion euros over the next four years to buy the stake and revamp the carrier, though the UAE carrier has not disclosed any details regarding the issue.
The agreement with Alitalia means Etihad would be expanding its market in Europe having already got stakes in Air Berlin and Aer Lingus.