Air Austral detailed yesterday its ten-year strategic plan for its partner Air Madagascar, with the aim of becoming the market leader in the Indian Ocean. Its new Malagasy subsidiary Tsaradia, dedicated to domestic flights, will be launched in the Spring.

At a press conference in Paris on February 5th 2018, the French company based at Saint Denis-Roland Garros Airport outlined its long-term development strategy to 2027: stabilise the finances of Air Madagascar and improve its services, launch Tsaradia on the Malagasy domestic market and open new routes, and increase the combined fleet to 26 aircraft. On the immediate economic front, the next three years will be devoted to the "recovery of the business fundamentals" of the national carrier based in Antananarivo-Ivato, with a return to profitability in 2020, said Marie-Joseph Malé, CEO of Air Austral and Vice President of Air Madagascar. The debts of US$ 160 million will be cleared by the Malagasy state.

Starting in April 2018, network development will begin with the launch of the subsidiary Tsaradia in Antananarivo, where it will take over Air Madagascar's domestic flights. The new schedule will include two daily rotations on the routes to Nosy Be, Tamatave, Diego Suares, Fort Dauphin and Tulear, and one to Sainte-Marie, Maroantsetra, Sambava, Majunga and Morondava. This would be a 30% increase in domestic flights according Besoa Razafimaharo, CEO of Air Madagascar.

On long-haul sector, Air Madagascar will offer this summer two additional routes between Ivato and Paris (four flights per week in total), before falling to three in October. In addition, there will be a seasonal route to Marseille from the Big Island. From Reunion, Air Austral operates twelve flights a week to Paris and two to Marseille. Their respective hubs will also be linked by a "regional highway" yet to be defined.

Fleet side, Tsaradia will benefit from two ATR72-600, two ATR72-500 and a B737-800 inherited from its parent company. This will allow it to dispose of its Airbus A340-300. The Air Madagascar fleet is expected to reach sixteen aircraft by 2027, while Air Austral will have 10.

In services, Air Madagascar’s first task is to improve punctuality, said Besoa Razafimaharo, aiming to go from 68% to 85%. In addition, a code sharing agreement has been in place since yesterday, for example allowing a passenger to combine a trip between Saint-Denis and Paris with a return between Paris and Antananarivo on each of the two companies.