Thursday, August 1, 2013

► MAURITIUS: Air Mauritius has no plans to acquire any new planes before 2020: Deenanath

Air MauritiusAir Mauritius (MK) Vice President (Business Sector) Mr Raj Deenanath has stated that his airline does not plan to acquire any new aircraft before 2020 despite recent comments made by Chairman Appalsamy Thomas stating that new aircraft would be a "real game changer" for the struggling airline.

According to The Indian Ocean Times, the airline is studying the acquisition of widebodies "like the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350" with discussions being held with one of the carrier's principal shareholders, the Mauritian government, regarding their introduction into the fleet over the coming years, but not before 2020. CEO Mr Andre Viljoen had allured to a possible tie up with a larger carrier, akin to that between Air Seychelles (HM) and Etihad (EY), in which the larger operator would help the Mauritians in their fleet renewal plans.

Air Mauritius operates two A319s, two A330-200s, six A340-300s and two ATR72-500s. However, the soaring cost of fuel and the dubious economy of the A340 has rendered its replacement a priority among other African operators of the type, namely South African Airways(SA).

Contrary to this, Mr Deenanath believes that with the equipment currently in service, Air Mauritius can continue to serve new destinations and also increase its frequency routes.

Mr Viljoen, in his recent presentation at the Air Mauritius AGM, said that the company was targeting a return to profitability by the end of the current financial year – in March 2014.