As of 28 October 2012, Air Mauritius plans to close its route to Durban. The impact on traveller numbers out of South Africa is expected to be minimal, with the addition of a second daily flight from Johannesburg, which will provide supplementary capacity during peak holiday season.
Says Carla da Silva, Air Mauritius Regional Manager Southern Africa and Latin America, “We have provided all of our venerated stakeholders with advanced warning, and plans are already in motion to accommodate forward bookings. These are to be re-booked onto an alternative Air Mauritius flight to the passengers’ final destinations at no extra cost, provided the itinerary was issued on a single ticket.”
The airline will provide full refunds without penalty for cancellations. Furthermore, travellers missing their onward connection, to or from Mauritius, will be offered up-to two nights’ complimentary accommodation.
Route changes for 2012:
The new economic environment of the airline industry is the basis for the current restructuring of Air Mauritius, which called for a review of the company’s business model. This after the recent reported losses for the quarter ending December 31, 2011 of €2.8-million, compared to a profit of €12.6-million the year prior. Planned route withdrawals, including Durban, is part of an ambitious, but realistic cost-saving plan, that is also set to deliver a boost to revenues.
“Having reviewed Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, it makes more economic sense to focus on the commercial powerhouse of South Africa, being Gauteng, for future growth prospects,” expounds da Silva.
Further to the reconfiguration of the airline’s current network; the following international loss making routes will be suspended:
Effective May 2012 – Milan (to be serviced on a daily basis via Paris) and Sydney / Melbourne (to be serviced via Perth)
Effective end October 2012, Frankfurt, Geneva, Munich (to be serviced on a daily basis via Paris), Bangalore (to be serviced via Mumbai and Chennai) and Durban (to be serviced on a daily basis via Johannesburg)
The following destinations will be reinforced: Paris, London, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Perth, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi, Antananarivo, St Denis, St Pierre and Rodrigues.
In order to implement this transformation plan, changes will be brought to the organisation and its operations, with customer services and human resources management being two main components.
Concludes da Silva, “This reorganisation will guarantee the future of Air Mauritius and ascertain its status as the strategic partner of the Mauritian economy. This is a dynamic industry and change is the only road to survival. There is a demand for airlines to fulfil however; the needs of travellers are becoming increasingly global. Big is not necessarily beautiful, as conventional wisdom used to be that the more destinations that an airline could place on its route map, the more successful it was. The modern traveller needs flexibility, which comes with frequency. Big hub markets can boast many connections, as well as strong frequencies. But when your home market is a spoke in the global system, focusing on frequent hub connections, may be the key to quality connectivity, which is a significant objective of Air Mauritius.”
Air Mauritius will continue to hold market presence in Durban. Da Silva is confident that this valued market will be effectively served with reinforced fights via Johannesburg to the island, and beyond. The introductory date for the additional Johannesburg service has yet to be announced.