Thursday, March 14, 2013

► MAURITIUS: Emirates to Air Mauritius' rescue as two agree to "a closer partnership."

EmiratesAfter being spurned by Air France (AF) who cited a "lack of means" to commit to any partnership with lonesome Indian Ocean carrier, Air Mauritius (MK), Emirates (EK) may turn out to be the struggling airline's knight in shining armour after the two agreed to "explore further development of commercial opportunities for both companies." The announcement came after a one-off visit by an Emirates (EK) Airbus A380 to the island of Mauritius on Tuesday 12 March.

Emirates A380 in Mauritius
Emirates A380 in Mauritius (AirbusSAS)
The discussions took place on 13th March 2013 between Air Mauritius top management, and an Emirates team led by Tim Clark, the President of Emirates.

The two airlines already have a codeshare agreement on the Mauritius-Dubai route.  

On the back of hefty losses over the past three years, Air Mauritius has had to embark on an review  of its business model, named the 7 Step Plan, in operation since last year. Discussions for extension of commercial cooperation with other airlines are part of the key factors for implementing Step 2 which is “Reinvigorating Commercial & Revenue Management”. The first results of the 7 Step Plan as a whole have already started to be felt, with Air Mauritius getting back to profitability during Q2 and Q3 of financial year 2012-2013.
Air MauritiusOur 7 Step Plan is a carefully designed plan to put Air Mauritius back on track and ensure profitability and sustainability of the company. In this respect we  have to continue to optimise commercial opportunities, rebalance costs and increase revenue channels.  Presently, we have existing fruitful cooperation with major airlines, including Emirates. 
Accordingly,  Air Mauritius will work to improve commercial opportunities and review its network further by exploring  the  leveraging on Emirates’ expansive network and MK’s stronghold in its core markets. We look forward to develop synergies together for our mutual benefits,” says Air Mauritius CEO, Andre Viljoen.
As the European tourist market continues to dwindle, the Indian Ocean carriers have had to seek out new alliances and new markets in order to remain financially viable. Last year, Etihad Airways (EY) bought a 40% stake in fellow Indian ocean carrier, Air Seychelles (HM). Air Seychelles has unofficially announced a turnaround in its fortunes with a potential USD1million profit to be declared for FY2012.