Air Mauritius marked a new era in the future of air connectivity with the acquisition of the brand new aircraft A350-900 'Le Morne Brabant'. The new aircraft landed at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport at Plaisance on 20 October 2017. The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and other eminent personalities were present at the airport on this occasion.
Air Mauritius' new asset fits in the vision of the Government to modernise the existing airbus fleet and transform Mauritius into a regional aviation hub. It has been delivered in the context of the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of Air Mauritius and as well as the 50 years of independence of the Republic of Mauritius. The new A350-900 is one among eight aircrafts that have been purchased from Airbus with the delivery of two brand new A350s this year, two A330neo in 2018, two A350 in 2019 and two more in 2023.
In his address Prime Minister Jugnauth, commended Air Mauritius for this laudable initiative and expressed confidence that the national airline will take up the challenges that lie ahead and contribute in the endeavour to move Mauritius to the next level of economic growth and position itself as a bridge between the country and the world.
He stressed on the importance of connectivity which he underlined is an essential engine of economic growth for island states like ours and for countries which, like us, are far away from their main markets. He further announced the transformation of Air Mauritius medium and long haul fleet by 2019 which will make the national airline more competitive as the A350-900 and the A330neo are both equipped with the latest best-in-class cabin amenities.
The Prime Minister also appealed to the national airline to focus on building its short haul fleet as regional connectivity is crucial to the country's economic plans and underpinned the significance of travel and trade industry as an important pillar of the country's economy. According to him, a robust national airline is therefore of fundamental importance for Mauritius as aviation supports tourism, a sector which in turn generates around 70 000 direct, indirect and induced jobs, and accounts for an estimated 17.9% of GDP.
Mr Jugnauth dwelt on the acquisition of the new Airbus fleet which, he said, will become an engine of rapid growth with non-stop operations being the leitmotiv of Air Mauritius's, and the source of its competitive advantage as the Air Mauritius network evolves across 36 destinations.
Moreover, he called on the national airline to be ready to embrace modernisation and to always strive to remain competitive as our cultural and economic ties with Africa and Asia coupled with our geographical position between the two continents, place Mauritius as an ideal position to be a conduit for travel and trade.
For his part, the Chairman of Air Mauritius, Mr Arjoon Suddhoo, highlighted that the acquisition of the new airbus testifies the growth and modernisation of the national airline which marks a new chapter in air connectivity. He further underscored that as a national carrier, Air Mauritius will always thrive for excellence in service delivery with the synergy of all its stakeholders.