Air Austral

Air Austral
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1974 by Gerard Etheve
Hubs Roland Garros Airport
Frequent-flyer program
  • Capricorn
Alliance Vanilla Alliance
Subsidiaries Ewa Air
Fleet size 8[1]
Destinations 14
Headquarters Roland Garros Airport
Sainte-Marie, Réunion, France
Key people Marie Joseph Malé (CEO)

Air Austral is a French airline with its headquarters at Roland Garros Airport in Sainte-Marie, Réunion, France.[2][3] The airline's main base of flight operations is Roland Garros Airport. It operates scheduled services from Réunion to metropolitan France, South Africa, Thailand, India and a number of destinations in the Indian Ocean. The company has 900 employees.[4]


Air Austral was created in December 1974 by local businessman Gérard Ethève. It was Réunion's first commercial airline, known as Réunion Air Services (RAS).[5][6] By August 1977 RAS had started regional services from Sainte-Marie to Mayotte[6] with a 32-seat Hawker Siddeley HS 748 turboprop.[5] RAS became Air Réunion in December, 1986.[6]

In October 1990 Sematra, a company 46% owned by the local councils of Réunion with the remaining shares owned by banks and other private partners, purchased Air Réunion.[6] A month later, Air Réunion became Air Austral.[5] Two months later, Air Austral bought its first Boeing 737-500.[5] Another 737-300 was acquired in 1994, and in 1997 the airline purchased a 737-300QC, which enabled both passenger and cargo only traffic.[6]

In 2000 the airline took delivery of an ATR 72-500, a short-haul turboprop.[6] By then, Air Austral operated from both Roland Garros Airport in Sainte-Marie and Pierrefonds Airport in Saint Pierre with scheduled services to Mayotte, Johannesburg, South Africa, Comoros, Mauritius, the Seychelles, and three destinations in Madagascar (Antananarivo, Tamatave, Nosy Be, Majunga).[5] In 2003, Air Austral launched its first long-haul service between Réunion and Paris, with two Boeing 777-200ERs.[6] The two Boeing 777s were joined by a third Boeing 777-200ER in 2005. A second long-haul route from Réunion to Marseille and Lyon was established.[6]

In 2007, a third long-haul service to Toulouse via Marseille started.[5] In 2008, the airline introduced new uniforms for staff and crew members, designed by Balenciaga. The second ATR 72-500 was added to the fleet, followed by a third a few months later.[5] In April 2009, Air Austral started a new service to Sydney and New Caledonia, thus opening up a new route between Paris and Sydney via Réunion. The airline also acquired two Boeing 777-300ERs.[5] In November, it placed a firm order for two all-economy class 840-seat Airbus A380s, for delivery in 2014. These are intended for Air Austral's Réunion-Paris flights.[7] In June 2010, it was announced that Air Austral would start scheduled flights from Réunion to Bordeaux and Nantes from February 2011.[4]

In August 2011, Air Austral received its first Boeing 777-200LR.[8] In April 2012, founder and chief executive Gérard Ethève was replaced by Marie-Joseph Malé following financial difficulties caused by risky business decisions made worse by high fuel prices.[9] Non-profitable lines to Nouméa, Sydney, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes, Toulouse and Lyon were closed. The company has since returned to profit. Also in April 2012, Air Austral was unable to pay for a new 777-200LR awaiting delivery. The company is looking to sell on the plane instead of taking delivery. Following this development, Air Austral announced in May 2012 that it would defer or cancel its order for 2 Airbus A380s, with a decision to be made by the end of June 2012.[10]

In June 2013, Air Austral introduced direct flights to Chennai, India with its new Boeing 737-800s.[11] In February 2015, the company announced an order for two Boeing 787-8s, to be delivered in May and October 2016 respectively. In March 2015, it also announced the lease of 2 more B777-300ER from Air Lease Corporation (ALC). These aircraft, delivered in late 2016, replaced the oldest two models of the same type then operated by Air Austral.

In October 2015, the company announced the sale of its single Boeing 777-200LR to Florida-based broker Atlas Aviation in November 2015. Air Austral simultaneously announced the lease, from November 2015 to May 2016 of a Boeing 737-300QC (QC for quick change) from ASL Airlines France (formerly Europe Airpost). The plane involved was F-ODZZ, a convertible version of the 737-300 (the cabin configuration can be changed from passengers to freight) that had actually already been in Air Austral service between 1997 and 2005. It was used until the first of the two Boeing 787-8s ordered by the company was delivered in May 2015.[12]


This is a list of destinations served by Air Austral as of May 2017:

[Hub] Hub
[Focus] Focus city
[S] Seasonal
[F] Future
[T] Terminated destination
City Country IATA ICAO Airport Notes/Refs
AntananarivoMadagascarTNRFMMIIvato Airport[13]
BangkokThailandBKKVTBSSuvarnabhumi Airport[14]
ChennaiIndiaMAAVOMMChennai International Airport[15]
DzaoudziMayotteDZAFMCZDzaoudzi Pamandzi International Airport[16]
JohannesburgSouth AfricaJNBFAORO. R. Tambo International Airport[17]
MahéSeychellesSEZFSIASeychelles International Airport[18]
MarseilleFranceMRSLFMLMarseille Provence Airport
MoroniComorosHAHFMCHPrince Said Ibrahim International Airport[19]
Nosy BeMadagascarNOSFMNNFascene Airport
ParisFranceCDGLFPGParis-Charles de Gaulle Airport[20]
Port LouisMauritiusMRUFIMPSir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport[21]
Saint DenisRéunionRUNFMEERoland Garros Airport [Hub][22]
Saint-PierreRéunionZSEFMEPPierrefonds Airport [Focus City]
ToamasinaMadagascarTMMFMMTToamasina Airport


Current fleet

The Air Austral fleet consisted of the following aircraft (as of August 2017):[23]

Air Austral fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y+ Y Total
ATR 72-500 1 62 64 2 aircraft leased to Ewa Air
Boeing 737-800 2 18 144 162
Boeing 777-300ER 3 18 40 384 438
Boeing 787-8[24] 2 18 244 262
Total 8

Former fleet

Air Austral fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Boeing 737-300 1 1994 2011
Boeing 737-300QC 2 1997 2016
Boeing 737-500 1 1990 2011
Boeing 767-300ER 1 2009 2009
Boeing 777-200ER 4 2003 2017
Boeing 777-200LR 1 2011 2015
Boeing 777-300ER 2 2013 2017


  1. 2 additional machines leased to subsidiary Ewa Air
  2. "Géographie Archived 2009-06-04 at the Wayback Machine.." Sainte-Marie. Retrieved on 7 October 2009.
  3. "Legal notices." Air Austral. Retrieved on 7 9 September 2010. "Air Austral Anonymous company with executive board and supervisory board With a capital of 19 206 900€ Roland Garros Airport area 97438 Sainte Marie or BP 611 - 97472 Saint-Denis Cedex."
  4. 1 2 Air-Austral renfort de la flotte 2 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-04
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "30 years of history in the Indian ocean sky". Air Austral. Archived from the original on 2010-12-25. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Air Austral brochure for Australian passengers, April 2009. Retrieved 2010-11-04 Archived October 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "Air Austral signs firm order for two single class A380s" Archived 2011-02-16 at the Wayback Machine., Airbus press release 17 November 2009. Retrieved 2010-11-04
  8. "F-OLRA Air Austral Boeing 777-29M(LR) - cn 40955 / ln 952 - Just Aviation". Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  9. Ethève's management style and difficult relations with unions was also in question and played a role in the decision.
  10. "European woes force changes for the better at Indian Ocean carriers, with Air Austral the latest", CAPA article, 24 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-29
  11. Around 120,000 (1.2 lakh) persons of Tamil origin are reported to live in Reunion. Air Austral links to Chennai
  12. Posted (in French) on the information site on October 6, 2015.
  13. Air Austral. "Antananarivo". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  14. Air Austral. "Bangkok". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  15. Air Austral. "Chennai". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  16. Air Austral. "Dzaoudzi". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  17. Air Austral. "Johannesburg". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  18. Air Austral. "Mahé". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  19. Air Austral. "Moroni". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  20. Air Austral. "Paris". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  21. Air Austral. "Port Louis". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  22. Saint Denis/Saint-Pierre. "Dzaoudzi". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  23. "Global Airline Guide 2017 (Part Two)". Airliner World (November 2017): 29.
  24. Toh, Mavis (25 May 2016). "Air Austral takes first 787". Singapore: Flightglobal. Retrieved 25 May 2016.

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