Air Madagascar said it launched its new domestic subsidiary, Tsaradia, on July 2, pushing ahead with a key part of the turnaround plan it is undertaking with strategic partner Air Austral.

Tsaradia has a fleet of four ATR 72s and three DHT Twin Otters and will fly to 10 destinations from its hub in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo.

Earlier this year, Air Madagascar and Air Austral set out plans to align their fleets, jointly developing their Saint Denis de la Reunion and Antananarivo hubs and boosting their long-haul and domestic networks as part of a major plan to be the leading player in the Indian Ocean.

That followed a strategic partnership deal La Reunion-based Air Austral closed with Air Madagascar in November 2017 that saw it take a 49% stake, with the condition that Madagascan authorities would clear the airline’s debts and improve airport infrastructure on the island.

The two companies pledged to focus on long-haul network growth as well as the potential of the domestic market in Madagascar.

The launch of Tsaradia, which means “have a good trip” in Madagascar’s national language, Malagasy, was initially planned for April 2018.

“The consolidation and development of the domestic market form one of the three main strands of the Air Madagascar turnaround plan, along with developing leadership in the international segment including on Madagascar-France routes and reinforcing cooperation on the regional network,” Air Madagascar said.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk