The mounting crisis facing aviation has caught up with yet another airline, as the Mauritius’ national carrier is placed into voluntary administration.
In a letter from administrators A. Sattar Hajee Abdoula and Arvindsingh K. Gokhool of Grant Thornton, the African airline said it had filed for voluntary administration to remain afloat.
“At the outset, it is important to highlight that Air Mauritius has not filed for bankruptcy,” Sattar Hajee Abdoula said.
“Our objectives as administrators are to safeguard the interests of the company and, more importantly, re-engineer its activities so that it can take off again once this crisis is over.
“The national airline is a key player of the Mauritian economy and is part and parcel of its history. Air Mauritius is, in addition, a source of pride for the people of Mauritius, and there is no doubt that as a country, we are all affected by this news.
“In such difficult times, it is essential that we get down to work without delay, along with all the partners of this industry to implement the measures deemed necessary to save the national airline.”
The administrators are currently working with Air Mauritius’ management to ensure the national carrier continues to operate and plan its phased resumption of operations.
According to the letter, Air Mauritius will maintain planned humanitarian flights for the repatriation of stranded passengers, including Mauritian nationals, as well as for the carriage of important medical supplies.
The new flexible booking policies that have been published on the company’s website are also still valid for customers who have booked tickets or who are holders of vouchers for future travel.
However, the airline advised customers need to know that resumption of operations is subject to the “favourable evolution of the COVID-19 situation” and the lifting of travel restrictions by authorities.
The announcement came just a day after Virgin Australia also entered voluntary administration due to the impacts on travel demand associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the regional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on African airlines is deepening.
The region’s airlines could lose US$6 billion (around $9.4 billion) of passenger revenue compared to 2019 – US$2 billion ($3.1 billion) more than was expected at the beginning of the month.
In 2020, IATA predicts Mauritius will welcome 3.5 million fewer passengers on aircraft, resulting in a US$540 million (more than $841 million) revenue loss.
In addition, the current crisis is risking 73,700 jobs and US$2 billion ($3.1 billion) in contribution to Mauritius’ economy.
Featured image: iStock.com/Nadezhda1906