in Air Transport / Features

Ocean partnership on crest of the waves

Posted 12 March 2019 · Add Comment

French airline, Air Austral, and local carrier, Air Madagascar, are continuing with their transformation plans – formalised in November 2017 – that are designed to develop their strategic partnership.

The business plan includes “the harmonious joint development of the two airlines”.
Air Madagascar CEO, Besoa Razafimaharo, said the first year had seen considerable progress. He explained that the companies are preparing to present a renewed product. “We created a new local service – Tsaradia – in record time, showing our ambition to make domestic service a priority.”
The two airlines are continuing to build synergies to strengthen their networks and this strategic consolidation is vital, according to Air Austral CEO, Marie-Joseph Malé, in an increasingly aggressive competitive environment.
“The optimisation of costs through the pooling of purchases – including fuel, premises, catering, MRO, handling and training – is key to our joint success and, to this end, Air Madagascar has modernised its internet sales tools and revised its pricing,” he said.
For Malé, the quality of products and services is “at the centre of our priorities”, concentrating on quality in both economy and business class... plus punctuality, the latter having increased from 50% to 76% with the aim of reaching 85%.
Financial difficulties meant that much of Air Madagascar’s fleet was grounded but the aircraft are gradually returning to revenue-earning service. A year ago four aircraft were flying but that number has now doubled with an ATR, an Airbus A340 and two additional Twin Otters in service.
A year ago the combined fleets of the two companies comprised 14 aircraft. Now the fleet is planned to reach 20 this year.
The two airlines are gaining momentum on their flights between the Indian Ocean and France, with around three daily flights along with a strengthened regional network and inter-connected hubs.
The Malagasy airline has increased Paris to Antananarivo flights from three to five in high season and, with double the previous number of seats, this is proving commercially successful. The goal is to increase this to six flights a week for summer 2019.
The two airlines have now sealed a code share agreement with Kenya Airways, creating Nairobi as a new hub, in addition to those of Antananarivo and Saint-Denis. “Nairobi, thus, becomes our gateway to the African continent, aiming to strengthen trade and tourism between the three countries and improve connectivity and routes within the region and between the island of Mayotte and Marseilles, as well as between Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles,” concluded Malé.
 

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