Talking to TF on the sidelines of Mauritius tourism promotion event, Vinit G, Manager – India & South Asian Sub-continent, Air Mauritius shared that the airline was keen to introduce permanent flights from Bengaluru and Chennai – which was going to materialize by the next year. He added that additional flights were being introduced from Delhi and Mumbai to cope up with high demand.
When is Air Mauritius going to launch additional flights? Have the dates been confirmed?
Dates have already been confirmed. By the end of April – that is the last Friday of the month – extra flights will commence. From Delhi, Air Mauritius will add six additional flights from the second or the third Tuesday of May to the last Tuesday of June. We base our decision to coincide with the holiday season. From Mumbai, therefore, we will have extra flights from last week of April to the first week of June.
Will you be adding extra flights from Bengaluru, too?
It is not going to happen now, but we will look into it as the winter commences. It is not going to be a seasonal arrangement, as is the case with additional flights from Mumbai and Delhi, but will be a permanent addition. From 22nd of October, we will have two permanent flights from Bengaluru and Chennai on a weekly basis. However, for now, we do plan to make the Mumbai flight daily by the next April. We actually wanted to do this earlier, but due to some or the other issue, it kept getting delayed. There is a definite demand and a concrete plan to take this forward.
As far as Delhi is concerned, it is a temporary arrangement, but we will have a case to make it a permanent arrangement if the demand persists.
Do you have bilateral for the same?
We have no issues with the bilateral; we have enough capacity in the bilateral. On the India-Mauritius route, taking into account the peak and low seasons, our average load factor exceeds eighty-five percent – which I would say is very good. There was a time when there was a distinction between high and low seasons; now, outbound from India has no season. Either it is a holiday season, MICE, or wedding season. Therefore, the traffic keeps trickling in all the time.
Do you have any code sharing for any Indian destination with any Indian carrier?
We do not have any such code sharing agreement with any Indian carrier. We are looking at Air India for code sharing in domestic flights in India, but we have not yet finalized it.
How far has it moved? Are you deliberating or talks have begun?
A lot of deliberation is going on. It is finally coming down to what the price is being offered, because when we started talking, we were fine with the idea. But, now with so many low cost airlines zip-zapping all across India, the fares are extremely low; I sometimes wonder how they make money. When we look at an inter-airline agreement, we are not able to match those fares. So, it does not make sense for us to have something in place which does not work. When you look at code sharing, you need to seamlessly transfer passengers and their luggage. Jet Airways and Air India are the only two carriers we can look at, because of their extensive network to support such a foray.
Have you increased frequency in the past as well?
Yes, we did it in 2015. It was done to cope up with the rush in the peak season. We had three regular flights, and had put in two additional flights from Mumbai.
So, you did not introduce extra flights from Delhi, and it was limited only to Mumbai?
It was limited to Mumbai in 2015. This year, we thought of looking at Delhi as well.
Any new destination in India that you think has the demand factor to introduce more flights?
There may be demand, but we would rather consolidate these four sectors which represent, practically, all of India rather than spreading ourselves too thin. It does not make sense for us.
What kind of aircrafts have you deployed on Indian routes?
We have Airbus 330 and Airbus 340 flying out of India which gives us 275 and 298 flyers, respectively, per flight.