Air Austral has leased two Airbus A330-200s to help limit disruption to its peak summer schedule after grounding one of its two Boeing 787s for at least two months because of ongoing issues with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

The aircraft mainly operates on the service between Paris and Mayotte, an overseas department of France, which the La Reunion-based carrier is increasing to seven direct weekly flights from June 15. 

From June 16, an Airbus A330-200 leased from French leisure airline Aigle Azur (with 287 seats including 19 in business class) will operate on the Paris-Mayotte route with an hour-long stop in Mombasa. The aircraft will also operate as needed between Mayotte and La Reunion. 

From July 1, another Airbus A330-200 (with a 266-seat configuration, including 24 in business class) leased from Spanish company Wamos will allow Air Austral to maintain its La Reunion-Bangkok route as well as Mayotte-La Reunion and Mayotte-Paris, including a technical layover, expected to be in Nairobi.

Air Austral grounded the 787-8 June 4 following one of the detailed monthly examinations of the level of wear of the blades that airlines operating Trent 1000-powered aircraft have been required to carry out as part of a wider program of checks since the problems came to light last year.

Last year, when the airline had to ground its other Boeing 787-8, it wet-leased an Airbus A380 from Portuguese charter airline Hi Fly to make up part of the shortfall in its schedule.

Air Austral’s fleet comprises two 787-8s, three 777-300s, two 737-800s and one ATR 72-500.

Helen Massy-Beresford,