EMIRATES’ ONE OFF A 380 VISIT TO MAURITIUS PRECURSER TO REGULAR FLIGHTS?
The Mauritius tourism industry may well have reasons to smile, after Emirates’ President Tim Clark indicated on the sidelines of the world’s largest tourism trade show, the ITB in Berlin, that he would like to see the giant Airbus A380 operate one of the two daily frequencies between Dubai and the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, which is currently undergoing modernization and upgrading, eventually able to handle the A380 on a regular basis and not just a one off visit.
Dubai’s national airline had several weeks ago announced that a special A380 flight would visit Mauritius on the 12th of March, i.e. tomorrow, arguably to test how the airport would be able to handle this type of aircraft which due to its extra long, wide and high dimensions requires special features vis a vis airbridges and other handling equipment. Emirates, after a long wait, was given a double daily frequency between Dubai and Mauritius last year to the relief of the tourism industry, which has been advocating to permit more flights and larger aircraft to bring more tourists to the island, but restrictive if not outright protective practices by the Mauritius Civil Aviation in favour of national airline Air Mauritius have long forestalled such developments on a broader basis.
Tim Clark’s expression of interest will no doubt have the Mauritius private sector renew their own lobbying and pressure on the Mauritius’ government to permit such a move, when Emirates has enough A380 aircraft on the fleet to consider flying this giant bird to the island on a regular basis, but only time will tell if the inevitable haggling between the airline and the Mauritius CAA will be successful. Watch this space for regular and breaking news from the Eastern African and Indian Ocean aviation scene.