Qatar Airways failed bid in Mauritius revisitedMarch 10, 2017
Peer pressure from industry players in the tiny Indian Ocean Island of Mauritius forced Qatar Airways out of a potential deal with Air Mauritius in the past, said a weekly online business magazine in Mauritius.
The Biz Week said sources indicated that the AirAsia X’s retreat from Mauritius was not the first time a foreign airline failed in its attempt to work with Mauritius.
Before AirAsia X, there was a precedence reminiscent of the powers of local pressure groups – either from industry players or ethnic groups.
The Qatar Airways started to show interest in Mauritius around the year 2000.
The magazine said while no one really knows the reason why AirAsia X abandoned the Mauritius route, it could well be due to pressures from Air Mauritius, or as some portals said (reference to The Independent’s breaking story on the AirAsia X pullout from Mauritius published last month) it is due to pressure from an ethnic group.
The weekly said Qatar Airways did not have landing rights in Mauritius, but it did start negotiations with Air Mauritius, showing its firm intentions to become a strategic partner to Air Mauritius.
Intense pressures are the reason the Arab airliner failed in its bid, said the weekly.
Some time back, Air Mauritius was in search for a strategic partner that would allow it to acquire newer aircraft since its existing fleet was old and needed regular repairs.
That was a time when the historic partners of Air Mauritius, Air France through its alliance with KLM were facing financial difficulties, while Air India was interested in the prospects but its deal with Kingfisher recorded huge losses too.
British Airways was approached by Air Mauritius but it rejected the offers.
Then came Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways, but it was the latter that showed keen interest to buy some shares from Air Mauritius.
The weekly said sources indicated the Qataris abandoned the negotiations based on the juicy offers made by Air Mauritius to the Emirates Airlines.
Air Mauritius signed a deal with Emirates but the then Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam expressed the wish that the national airliner had Qatar Airways as a partner.
But an entire team of advisers (or pressure group) opposed the idea, saying the Qataris will dominate and conquer the market.
In 2015, another attempt by Qatar to get its airline to fly by Mauritius but nothing has happened since.
While the Qatar Airways deal did not materialise, the code sharing deal with Emirates did not benefit Air Mauritius much, said the weekly.