Monday, September 24, 2012

► RÉUNION: Air Austral boss Malé gives carrier 3 months max to come up with A380 decision.

Air Austral
Réunion-based French carrier, Air Austral (UU), is reportedly still in negotiations with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS over a possible deal involving two A380s, albeit, not for the 840-All-Economy-Seaters that were envisaged by previous boss and company founder, Gérard Ethève, prior to his departure from the carrier in April this year.

According to the Réunion newspaper Le Tribune, Air Austral boss Marie-Joseph Malé stated that, in Air Austral's present financial condition, the original deal for the 840-seaters would be disastrous, adding that the carrier had given itself two to three months to come up with a definitive solution:
"In the current scope of Air Austral, two A380 with such a capability would lead us to disaster," said Marie-Joseph Malé in Wednesday's La Tribune. "Negotiations are underway with Airbus to find a solution to this pending issue." According to him (Marie-Joseph Malé), all options are on the table: the issue of funding, a delivery schedule, the aircraft configurations, plus the possibility of cancellation. 

An Air Austral A380 rendering
An Air Austral A380 rendering (M974)
After years of ambitious network expansion that saw routes being opened up to Australia and New Caledonia in the Pacific, and two Airbus A380s and two Boeing 777-200LRs being ordered, Air Austral's bubble finally burst this year when the global economic slowdown in tandem with high oil prices, took their toll and hit the carrier with a loss of EUR€48million for Financial Year 2011-12, leading to Ethève's resignation.