News that Air Mauritius is planning to start a regional airline is great for connectivity across the African continent, but at this stage none of it is 100% confirmed, says Regional Manager for the airline Carla Da Silva.
Connectivity across Africa could be vastly improved as per the directive of Yamoussoukro Decision for an Open Skies Africa policy, but this has been rather slow going.
In July 2015, IATA commissioned theValue of Aviation for Africa econometric report, undertaken by independent economic consultants InterVistas, to examine the impact of liberalised air transport for 12 African countries including SA, Namibia Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda.
Not only does poor connectivity stem the options for millions of African travellers, but the research indicates airfares are affected by as much as 25% and 37%.
While budget pan-African airline fastjet launched new flights linking South Africa and Zimbabwe in February 2016, FlyAfrica’s services have been a little more bumpy after being grounded towards the end of 2015. So more choice would be great for travellers.
“Connectivity across Africa is imperative as Africa has phenomenal potential. Many international investors and organisations are establishing businesses on the Africa continent, so air transportation and connectivity are key,” says Da Silva.
While the specifics of a regional airline are still being finalised, Da Silva said the airline understands the importance of partnerships and mergers for “growth on the continent can be achieved.”
Air Mauritius has established schedules and connectivity between Asia and Africa via Mauritius” – creating an air corridor between the two continents .
“We now have schedules out of China, India, Singapore and Africa with seamless connectivity,” says Da Silva.
Mauritius Air is also set to kick-off its flights to Maputo and Dar es Salaam in May 2016. Da Silva said Air Mauritius would confirm regional airline route developments and its new services as soon as it was available.