AIR MADAGASCAR 'CONFIDENT OF HOW FAR WE'VE COME'. Eric Koller, elected chairman of the board of directors of the national airline Air Madagascar in November 2017, remains hopeful that Air Madagascar can continue to respect the businessplan developed with its strategic partner.

What steps have been taken since the signing of the, end 2017, partnership agreement with Air Austral?

We've done a tremendous job. All Air Madagascar teams, from the general management to employees in all departments, have achieved prowess in the transfer of technical skills that have resulted in results that are already very palpable. In less than a year and a half, The punctuality rate has thus increased from 40% to 77% ! The business plan developed with Air Austral, so far (EDITOR'S NOTE: end of April), respected to the letter.

Aren't there threats to the company ?

All airlines of modest size and sometimes also large airlines are currently suffering because of the rising cost of fuel. I would remind you that without state intervention, we've repaid 280 billion Ariary (70 million euros) due to suppliers. The release of funds and the effective payment of the last tranche of our strategic partner will allow us to get afloat under the business plan that remains our "bible".

Beyond these cash flow problems, Isn't the quality of the fleet also a major concern ?

We will have to, as soon as possible, we get new aircraft but above all perfectly adapted to Malagasy conditions. We need to have 120 to 135 places that can land on short and sometimes partially degraded runways. I stress that the fleet between Air Madagascar and Air Austral will have to be harmonised in order to use the same maintenance centre in Ivato. In the event of a technical failure, fortunately in many cases, Air Austral can help us quickly.

In the event of a technical failure, fortunately in many cases, Air Austral can help us quickly.

How tsaradia company is doing ?

The subsidiary 100% Air Madagascar was born in June 2018. This national airline has made it possible to "rebooster" the national network with a very significant increase in the number of seats offered. It will take a broad consultation with agencies and tour operators in order to perfectly adapt the supply to the demand. All actors will have to make efforts to arouse the desire to discover the regions. Tsaradia, however, enjoys sound and autonomous management, has its own CEO and thus has much better control over its development. It should be noted, however, that we are victims of the sometimes pitiful state of airport facilities.

What accommodations have been proposed on regional and international flights ?

Reunion/Fort-Dauphin/Tulear flight has a good filling rate. Paris/Fort-Dauphin/Tulear (via Reunion) proposed by Air Austral allows us to consider energizing the RN7 circuit by avoiding a return trip by road and leaving Antananarivo for Reunion. Here too, agencies and tour operators must take ownership of its lines and create attractive circuits. Internationally, Air Madagascar offers up to eight weekly rotations in high season over France (one of which is on Marseille). Our customers will have noticed the improvements in the Business Class mainly in the menu.Despite all the pitfalls, don't you seem to keep hope in the turnaround of the company ?I'm confident of how far we've come. We must continue to respect the strategic business plan with Air Austral and defend our interests. It is therefore imperative to save our subsidiaries such as Sofitrans for Duty free, catering, "Food and Beverage". We will remain the majority shareholder of these subsidiaries. Beyond financial interests, it goes about the national identity of our Ivato International Airport.

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