Australia saw its first A330neo yesterday when Air Mauritius flew one of its brand new A330-900neos into Perth on its regular Port Louis – Perth run.
Air Mauritius flight MK440 landed in Perth, Western Australia, at 09:00 on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. The transindian flight went through the night, taking six and a half hours to reach Perth.
The airline, based at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, flies into Perth twice a week. Perth is its only Australian destination and Air Mauritius has been using A330-200s on the route. It is expected the route will be entirely serviced by A330-900neos from early 2020.
In a media statement, a Perth Airport spokesperson said
“The A330-900NEO is Airbus’s latest-generation aircraft and Air Mauritius’ decision to utilize it on this route, strengthens its commitment to the Perth market and will undoubtedly enhance the customer experience on the route.”
A win for Perth and its airport
It’s a win for Perth Airport, an airport that is frequently overshadowed by its bigger east coast rivals. Perth is an isolated city and, in addition to being a big hub for the FIFO and resources sector, the airport is a vital link to the wider world.
The Air Mauritius service also allows West Australians the cunning option of a stopover in Mauritius before continuing on to Europe – not a bad alternative to Singapore or Dubai or the 17 hour nonstop Qantas service to London.
The trip across the Indian Ocean should be a fairly comfortable one for passengers on the A330-900neo. Australian Aviation reports that the Air Mauritius A330-900neos seats 228 passengers in a two-class cabin configuration.
Australian Business Traveller has extensive photos of the interior of the Air Mauritius A330-900neo. It notes there are 28 business class lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. In the 260 seat economy cabin, the configuration is predominately 2-4-2. Towards the rear of the plane, the configuration is 2-3-2.
What’s going on at Air Mauritius?
Air Mauritius only received its first A330-900neo in April. At the time it was the only operator of the aircraft in the southern hemisphere. The airline has since added another A330-900neo to its fleet.
Air Mauritius has ambitious plans. It wants the airport at Port Louis to become a strategic hub for the region. While the airline may not be extensively known outside its home region, its planes traverse the Indian Ocean, flying not only to Perth, but the east coast of Africa, the Gulf, India, and South-East Asia.
The airline flies afar afield as Hong Kong and Shanghai in the east and London in the west. There is also a rather interesting seasonal Port Louis – Geneva routing. This writer thinks a weekend in Mauritius en route to Switzerland sounds like an excellent idea.
The airline is also sending one of its A350s across to South African Airways later this year. Deliveries to Air Mauritius of new A330-900neos may be rendering the A350 surplus to requirements. Sending one across to South Africa is a nice way for the airline to diversify its income stream.
South African Airways will be operating the A350 on its flagship Johannesburg – New York route.
Simple Flying reached out to Air Mauritius for comment but had not received a response prior to publication.