COVID-19: Virus claims another airline as Air Mauritius files for administration

Administrators call global pandemic worst crisis since WWII

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Air Mauritius
The airline was originally established in 1967 and was based at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in the capital Port Louis. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Indian ocean carrier Air Mauritius has gone into administration as the result of the global shutdown of international flights and the closing of national borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline was originally established in 1967 and was based at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in the capital Port Louis. The airline served a network covering Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia before the virus brought international travel to a virtual standstill.

Hopkins
A screenshot of the Johns Hopkins University virus tracking site taken on 24 April. To access the live site, click on the image. (PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

The airline’s administrators, Grant Thornton, called the aviation shutdown “the worst crisis ever since World War II” and said Air Mauritius joins other airlines like Virgin Australia which filed for administration and South African Airways, which is expected to be replaced by a state-owned carrier, according to a report from Reuters.

Air Mauritius has already been in a restructuring process since the beginning of the year, notably with the setting up of a Transformation Steering Committee with a view to addressing the financial difficulties of the Company, and to reviewing its business model from the strategic and operational points of view.

“As administrators, our mission is above all to save the company. We know that the national airline is a key player in our economy and that it is part and parcel of our history,” Grant Thornton said in a statement. “Air Mauritius is, in addition, a source of pride for the people of Mauritius, and there is no doubt that 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 in Mauritius, to implement the measures deemed necessary to save the national airline.”

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Asian Aviation
Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.

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