The chief Analyst at CAPA – Centre for Aviation – Brendan Sobie said Mauritius being a very small local market, the proposed air corridor between the two countries will not have a major impact on Changi Airport or Singapore overall.
In an email interview with The Independent, Sobie said the objective of the air corridor is for Air Mauritius to use Singapore as a hub.
This is simply about Air Mauritius serving the Singapore-Mauritius route and using Singapore-based carriers to offer connections beyond Singapore.
“The potential upside for any of the Singapore-based carriers is actually very small, which perhaps explains why you haven’t seen the Singapore-based carriers rushing to cooperate with Air Mauritius.
“And why there have not been much of any developments with this air corridor concept over the first year or so,” he said.
While in Singapore the air corridor is a misnomer – virtually no one heard about it – it is not the case in Mauritius where the pullout of the AirAsia X flights from Kuala Lumpur to Mauritius raised a real havoc.
Observers in Port Louis told The Independent that the Mauritius government is now pushing for the Singapore-Mauritius corridor in order to move on from the AirAsia X successful experience.
AirAsia X is said to have abandoned its project to fly to Mauritius after barely 6 months – despite a one-year contract – following pressures from within the tiny Island’s air industry and possibly from ethnic groups that were unhappy to see the progress of the low-cost airliner from a majority Muslim nation, Malaysia.
“Air Mauritius needs to use Singapore as a transit point to other destinations in Asia-Pacific in order to sustain its service to Singapore – or to grow its service. But this require close collaboration with Singapore-based carriers.
“In the first year or so this has not happened but obviously there is some efforts now, particularly from the Mauritius side, to try to make this work,” Sobie said.
The key is getting access to the connecting flights – at a good price.
Otherwise the whole concept will not work. It remains to be seen whether this will be successful, he said.
“Now even if does succeed we are still talking about a small market with a limited impact on Changi or Singapore overall.
“We are not talking about potentially penetrating a big new market.,” Sobie said.
He said he would not expect Singapore Airlines, Tigerair or SilkAir to serve Mauritius.
Mauritius or Africa overall is not considered an important growth market for any of these airlines.