AIR MADAGASCAR PRIVATISATION SET FOR NEXT STAGE
(Posted 29th December 2016)
Indian Ocean airlines Air Austral and Air Mauritius are among seven remaining bidders for a stake of up to 49 percent in Madagascar’s ailing national airline. Others named in media reports from the capital Antananarivo, also the hub airport of the airline, include South African, Ethiopian Airlines and notably even Kenya Airways, among others.
Present large scale shareholders are the Madagascar government and Air France.
Only recently was it announced here that Air Madagascar will from February 2017 in a code shared operation with Air Austral fly from the island via Reunion to China, with both airlines ‘sharing‘ the seats in almost equal portions for this flight. Reunion has become a destination of choice for many Chinese travelers in part because of a Visa Waiver Programme put in place by Reunion with the backing of the French central government in Paris, to boost the island’s tourism industry.
Air Madagascar, though now off the notorious European aviation blacklist, has been struggling to maintain unprofitable routes – the airline flies to a total of 9 international and several domestic destinations – but is also saddled with high labour costs and in need to introduce more fuel efficient aircraft, given the composition of their present fleet of 9 aircraft which include an ageing B737-300 and two ageing Airbus A340’s.
The process of selecting a successful bidder is expected to be finalised in Q1 of next year at which time a new strategic partner / investor will be announced.