Friday, May 25, 2012
Air Mauritius Limited, doing business as Air Mauritius, is the flag carrier of Mauritius. The airline is headquartered at the Air Mauritius Centre in Port Louis, Mauritius. Its main base is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.
The carrier is 51% owned by Air Mauritius Holdings Ltd., which is in turn owned in its majority by the Mauritian Government. Air Mauritius' wholly owned subsidiaries are Airmate Ltd., Air Mauritius Holidays (Pty) Ltd. Australia, Air Mauritius SA (Proprietary) Ltd., Mauritian Holidays Ltd. (UK) and Mauritius Helicopters Ltd.; partly owned subsidiaries are Mauritius Estate Development Corporation Ltd. (93.7%), Pointe Coton Resort Hotel Company Ltd. (54.2%), and Mauritius Shopping Paradise Company Ltd. (41.7%).
The company is the fourth largest carrier in Sub-Saharan Africa, and has an important standing in the European, African, and Indian Ocean region markets; the airline won the “2011 Indian Ocean Leading Airline Prize”, making it the seventh year in a row for it to win the award. It also performs a range of services in Mauritius for international airlines. Out of a five-star ranking, the carrier's inflight service is awarded 3 stars by Skytrax
The company was set up on 14 June 1967 by Air France, the BOAC enterprise, and the Government of Mauritius, with a 27.5% stake each; the balance was held by Rogers and Co. Ltd., the general sales agent for Air France and BOAC within Mauritius.
In the beginning, the carrier operated international services in conjunction with Air France, Air India and British Airways, which jointly had a 25% holding in Air Mauritius at that time. Until 1972, the company restricted its activities to ground services only; it started flight operations in its own right in August 1972 with a six-seater Piper PA-31 Navajo aircraft leased from Air Madagascar, connecting Mauritius with Rodrigues. In 1973, a wet-leased Vickers VC10 from British Airways enabled the company to launch a long-haul route to London via Nairobi. Likewise, long-range operations in its own right started on 1 November 1977, using a Boeing 707 wet-leased from British Airtours.
During the 1970s and 1980s, long-haul routes were operated with Boeing 707s and Boeing 747 SPs. These aircraft have been gradually replaced with Boeing 767s and Airbus A340s, introduced in 1988 and 1994, respectively. African medium-haul routes started utilizing the Airbus A319 following its delivery in 2001, and ATR 42s and ATR 72s were introduced in 1987 and 2002, respectively, to operate inter-island services.
In 1995, the company was listed on the stock exchange of Mauritius. As of 31 March 2011, shareholders having more than 5% of participation in the airline are Air Mauritius Holdings (51%) and the government of Mauritius (8.4%), while other investors hold a 19.9% stake in the company. It employs a staff 2,761 strong (at March 2007).
The airline has the Paille-en-Queue, a fish-eating tropical bird, as its symbol