The national airline is betting big on the Indian market by aiming to reach 100,000 Indian tourists by next year compared to 54,000 last year. From April 13, Air Mauritius will connect Plaisance to Chennai once a week. This is the third major city in India that the company will serve since its exit from voluntary administration in September 2021. No other country is as well served by MK.

The national airline already sends its planes six times a week to Mumbai and three times a week to Delhi. After the west coast of India, with Mumbai, the largest city in the country, the North, with Delhi, capital of India, Air Mauritius therefore focuses on Chennai, capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, which is located on the Indian east coast and bordering the Bay of Bengal.

To serve Chennai, Air Mauritius will deploy an A330 with 254 seats. The direct flight journey from Chennai International Airport to Plaisance International Airport will last 5 hours 45 minutes. The flight from Chennai will take place on Saturdays and those from Mauritius on Fridays.

“The objective is to reach the number of Indian tourists that we had during the pre-Covid period and which was around 80,000 people per year. In 2023, we had 54,000 tourists from this country,” says Arvind Bundhun, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), on tour in India. The ambition is to be able to reach 100,000 Indian tourists in 2025. This represents a little less than double the number of Indian arrivals last year.

Speaking to journalists in India on Monday evening, Laurent Recoura, Officer-in-Charge of Air Mauritius, said he was delighted to “relaunch our operations from Chennai after four years of absence”.

And to specify that “Mauritius and India maintain a special relationship based on interpersonal links (…) The two countries are united by ancestry, language and geography”.

The Indian market is, however, far from being the main tourist source market for Mauritius. According to official statistics for 2023, India, with its 1.4 billion inhabitants and its privileged links with Mauritius, is positioned in sixth place with 54,137 arrivals out of a total of 1,295,410 all destinations combined. The Indian market therefore represented only 4.18%. In 2022, the figure was 36,956 for India out of 997,290 tourist arrivals.

In first place among source markets, we find France, with 319,522 tourist arrivals in 2023, followed by the United Kingdom (145,873), Reunion Island (134,222), Germany (118,546), South Africa (106,169) and then India. Switzerland is in seventh position with 34,585 tourist arrivals last year.

Air Mauritius retirees rely on the opposition

In an open letter to the leaders of all political parties in the country, representatives of Air Mauritius retirees request individual meetings to discuss their problems.

About ten days ago, they held a peaceful demonstration in Port-Louis and delivered a letter to the Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth.

In the absence of a satisfactory reaction, they rely on party leaders and more particularly those of the opposition.

In addition to their own problem, linked to a sharp drop in the annual readjustment of their pensions, which their representative, Raj Rumlugun, a former executive of the company, mentions in the open letter, they are also worried about the fate of Air Mauritius.

Also, they want to share their concerns “regarding the systemic weaknesses/failures in leadership and governance at Air Mauritius Limited, and thus learn about the concrete plan that you and your respective parties have to bring lasting positive changes to MK in the “best interests of all its key stakeholders, i.e. its customers, the company, shareholders and employees (including retirees), and the country above all.”

And added that “any system or organization is only as good and effective as the people who make it up and the perpetual values ​​they embody, especially at the management level. We are not guided by political dogma or partisan agendas.”

They claim to be “eager to put an end to the empty slogans and costly experiments of the national airline by all ruling politicians and other self-interested accomplices and pressure groups.”

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