In the last two months Marseille Provence Airport, the host of this year’s Routes Europe, has celebrated the resumption of long-haul links to Toronto by Air Transat and the introduction of summer flights to New York by XL Airways France and Seoul by Korean Air. However, as it first reported at the networking forum in April, Air Madagascar will also boost the long-haul offering from the French airport with new direct flights to Nosy Be and Moroni in the Comoros.
These two new routes adds to the carrier’s existing service to Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, which has been operating since 2006 and further strengthen the airport's long-haul network and Marseille Provence’s position as the French airport with the most long-haul destinations away from Paris.
The two new services and existing Antananarivo flight will be operated using a Boeing 767-300ER of Portuguese charter carrier EuroAtlantic Airways which will be based in Marseille. The aircraft is configured in a two-class arrangement seating 16 passengers in Baobab Class (Business) and 234 passengers in the main cabin, in Ylang Class (Economy).
The link to the idyllic tropical island off Nosy Be the northwest coast of Madagascar is currently the only scheduled link to Europe although seasonal charter flights are offered by Italian leisure operator Neos which serves its Fascene Airport from Milan Malpensa. The volcanic island is Madagascar's largest and busiest tourist resort and is the only location in the country where all-inclusive resorts are available. Air Madagascar will serve the destination, a popular location for divers and home to undisturbed fauna and flora, with a weekly flight from June 29, 2014.
The flight to Moroni will operate weekly from June 26, 2014 but will be flown in co-operation with Antananarivo meaning services to the capital will also increase to twice weekly from that date. The link will operate direct from Europe on Thursdays and return on Saturdays. Moroni, which translates in Camorian to ‘in the heart of the fire’ is located at the foot of Mount Karthala, an active volcano, and is the capital of the semi-autonomous island Grande Comore, the largest of the three main islands of the republic, which form the sovereign archipelago nation of the Union of the Comoros.
Moroni is served by the Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport, located at Hahaia, about 15 km (9 miles) north of the town. However, there have only ever been limited connections to Europe. In the past ten years Air Bourbon has operated direct links to Paris Orly and Air Austral to Marseille, while most recently Air Comores International also linked the archipelago to Marseille between December 2004 and January 2007. The local civil aviation authority, Agence Nationale de l'Aviation Civile et de la Météorologie de l'Union des Comores, is working to further boost connectivity.