Friday, November 9, 2012

■ RÉUNION: Air Austral bounces back with a $7.35million profit for Q3.

Air Austral
In a dramatic change of its fortunes since posting a Q1 loss of EUR27million earlier in the year, Réunion-based French carrier Air Austral (UU) yesterday announced a profit of USD7.35million (EUR5.78million) for Q3 of its 2012 Financial Year, an improvement of USD9.89million (EUR7.78million) on its loss of USD2.54million (EUR2.0million) for the same period last year.

During yesterday's press conference, Marie-Joseph Malé and the members of the Board of Air Austral, said:
"Until now," said the chief executive and managing director of the Rèunion-based company, "we have been following all the events. After a few months, the fall has stabilized and we are beginning to recover. I am reasonably confident. We are respecting our business plan's deadlines. But everything is not yet finished; total recovery will still take a few months."
Source [Clickanoo]

For now, according to Malé, the priority is not to look for investors for the recapitalization of the company but the sustainability of a new route & flight policy as well as the establishment of a real business plan.

Air Austral Boeing 777-200Overall, from July to September the company made a total turnover of USD138.6million (€109million), consequently generating a profit of USD7.34million (€5.78 million). Compared to Air Austral forecasts (USD4.3million or €3.4million), this is an improvement of USD2.97million (€2.34million). While Total Passenger's Carried was down, the company was better  able to control its costs, with total savings amounting to USD3.05million (€2.4million) as opposed to a projected USD2.03million (€1.6million). Of particular note is the Air Austral's successful daytime flight from La Réunion to Paris Orly which has averaged 88% load factors. As a result, the carrier has started to regain the confidence of various banks with whom it has various credit agreements.

However, not everything was so rosy.

The problematic question of Air Austral's various aircraft on order, but not yet in active service, came up though no specific solutions were given. Currently, Air Austral has an unsold Boeing 777-200LR still sitting in Seattle and two Airbus A380s on order.

Malé also discussed the issue of human resources. Since August, the airline's management has put in place a business plan known as "Solid'R" whose effectiveness relies heavily on the company's employees and whose ultimate objective is to change the corporate culture of the company, into a more dynamic, accountable and cohesive one.
Lastly, as part of the sprucing up of the company's image, a new marketing campaign is to be launched next week. 

Stay tuned.