The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) airlines will sign a cooperation agreement on June 18 establishing the ‘Vanilla Alliance’ aimed at improving air services between IOC member states and international connectivity to the region

The Vanilla Alliance will be made up of Air Austral (Reunion), Air Madagascar, Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles, and the Ministry of Transport of the Union of Comoros (until the appointment of a carrier in that country). The airlines have agreed to “jointly defend their common interests and enhance international connectivity [to, from, and within the] islands while taking care to preserve the attractiveness of passenger fares.”

Air Austral CEO Marie-Joseph Malé, who is also president of the IOC Airline Committee, said that the IOC-led initiative represented "a major turning point for regional air transport."

In parallel, the civil aviation authorities of the IOC member states are, through the IOC civil aviation committee, exploring the possibility of establishing a shared regulatory framework, as well as strengthening government competency in areas such as training and safety.

The Vanilla Alliance idea stemmed from an international symposium on air transport in the Indian Ocean region hosted by the IOC in May 2013. Following that symposium, the IOC published a report in January last year called ‘Indianocéania's Wings’ which demonstrated the measurable and sustainable added value of a coordinated approach to air transport.