Honestly? I didn’t.
So, the news that British Airways is selling its 10.5% share in Air Mauritius was a surprise, mainly because I’d forgotten they even had it.
It’s no surprise BA is selling it. Not because of the cash riches it will release – it’s only worth £3.2 million – but because it is meaningless and frankly not worth the management hassle. I’d like to know why BA took the stake in the first place (it dates back to 1973). Something about helping a start-up get going I’ve read.
From BA’s side, Robbie Baird, its area general manager Asia Pacific and the airline’s representative on the Air Mauritius board, said: “Our investment in Air Mauritius no longer forms a core part of our business strategy. We invested in the airline when it was a start-up airline. It is now a successful carrier, operating to the highest standards and no longer requires our involvement and support.”
So, what other airline stakes does BA have?
According to our Air Transport Intelligence database, there are four (including the Air Mauritius one), all representing an investment of less than 20% in any carrier.
* Iberia – 13.15%
* Flybe – 15%
* Comair (South Africa) – 12.85%.
Of these, which can be classed as strategic or longer-term? Certainly Iberia could be if BA starts to move on European consolidation with other flag carriers and it recently upped its stake in the Spanish airline.
Flybe will most likely be relatively temporary and is part of the deal that saw the UK-based regional low-fare player acquire BA’s regional operations.
The Comair deal, which involves the carrier feeding BA as a franchise partner, addresses an issue in a particular market and could be at risk if Comair does decide to launch services to the UK, putting it into competition with BA.