New way forward for Air Mauritius ?


(Posted 27th October 2013)

Information received from Mauritius indicates that the airline may have dropped its search for a strategic investor and shifted attention to the level of commercial agreements. The airline’s top management was reportedly in Dubai last week seeking to reach an agreement with Emirates, which flies twice a day to Mauritius using B777 aircraft, with one of the two flights soon being upgraded to an Airbus A380 to add more seats for the island, a key demand made in the past by the hospitality and tourism industry.

Air Mauritius has over the past years started to implement sharp cost cutting measures, including dropping routes to some of the island’s European core markets, leaving connectivity to among others Emirates which now connects sun seeking tourists via their hub in Dubai. The source in Port Louis indicated that there may be further consolidation ahead for Air Mauritius on some routes in order to exploit synergy effects with commercial partner airlines. Additionally it was learned that a much needed capital injection from shareholders, Air France among them but with a stake of under 20 percent, is increasingly unlikely, putting a question mark over the airline’s plans to modernize their fleet, which notably still uses 6 Airbus A340 which should for all purposes be exchanged with the more fuel efficient A330’s or at some point in the future with either A350 or B787 aircraft, both of which will allow for fuel savings of over 20 percent compared to the A340. Other aircraft in use are two A319 for shorter routes to the African mainland and to neighbouring islands, two A330-200 and two ATR 72 for flights to Rodrigues.

Media reports from Mauritius are suggesting that the airline may have to sell some assets to be able to finance a fleet overhaul and their hotel in Rodrigues, Cotton Bay, has been named among other properties which could be put up for sale. Watch this space for breaking and regular news from the Indian Ocean’s aviation scene.

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