Réunion-based Air Austral plans to finalize a medium-haul fleet decision over the coming months, as it seeks to develop its network from Réunion and possibly the nearby Indian Ocean island of Mayotte.

Air Austral’s operating fleet operates three Boeing 777-300s, two 787-8s, two 737-800s and a single ATR 72-500, which is used to serve Bangkok (Thailand), Chennai (India), the Comoros islands, Madagascar, Marseille (France), Mauritius, Mayotte, Paris Charles de Gaulle (France), the Seychelles and South Africa.

In late 2017, Air Austral took a 49% stake in strategic partner Air Madagascar, bringing together two key airlines serving the Indian Ocean region.

With that partnership now settling, Air Austral is looking to introduce some new-generation aircraft to develop connections from Réunion and potentially Dzaoudzi in Mayotte, another Indian Ocean island.

“Discussions are ongoing and are expected to be completed within the next few months. The company plans to complete its medium-haul fleet by the end of 2020,” an Air Austral spokeswoman told ATW.

For the time being, Air Austral does not plan to open new routes, instead focusing on developing products and strengthening  Indian Ocean connections, together with Air Madagascar.

In late 2018, Air Austral and Air Madagascar signed a partnership with Kenya Airways. The three airlines aim to develop codeshare services from their home hubs of Saint Denis (Réunion), Antananarivo (Madagascar) and Nairobi (Kenya).

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@informa.com