Hi there, this route having never been reported in english, i decided to do it. Being on holiday back home in Mauritius, i grasped the chance to fly to the island of Rodrigues which is some 600 km away from mainland Mauritius. Rodrigues is the 10th district of Mauritius and inspite having gained some autonomy, it is still part of the Mauritian Republic.
The flights from Mauritius to Rodrigues Airport, Sir Gaetan Duval, is operated solely by the national carrier,Air Mauritius using ATR 72s.
To add some warmth to the lousy weather prevailing in Paris (where i live), here is a picture that will help forget the cold and rain!
Lets get into the core of this topic. It is very early in the morning, with burning eyes and half asleep that we leave home for the one and a half hour journey to the airport. In these early hours, Plaisance looks very calm. This way please…
The brand new airport is simply empty.
A domestic flight implies the domestic part of the terminal.
A blurry look (exactly as my eyes seen it that early morning) at the departure screen which shows today's four flights from mainland Mauritius to Rodrigues.
Lets get rid of the lugages which are limited to one pièce of 15 kg/pax on this leg.
The check-in zone has 8 counters among which 2 are dedicated to upper class passengers and status holders.
The lady in charge of our check-in was nice and smily, good point.
Next step, passport control…but wait a minute? Domestic flight and passport control? Inspite being part of the Republic of Mauritius, travelling between Mauritius and Rodrigues, requires passport control. I guess this is a question of figures, to assess the number of tourists flying to Rodrigues.
Once security check cleared, we land in a small but nice waiting lounge.
The small snack, offers what some people like me, might need to be fully operational after a very short nignt.
I kept my bag as a hand lugage…
The waiting room airside looks quite small but it is actually way enough for the flights to Rodrigues.
The only boarding gate which opens directly on the tarmac
It is far from being the rush-hour on the tarmac.
The waiting room has very clean washrooms and several pictures showing sceneries of Rodrigues Island.
The time for boarding finally came.
Inspite of the short distance between the gate and the aircraft, we will be taken there by bus - brand new cobus 3000 for the first bunch of passengers.
Before catching the bus, the hold-phobic people like me must abandon their cabin bags which will therefore be checked bags.
Here we go for the bus ride, on board a vintage copy of the cobus.
The 2 min drive and the 500 m done, here we are at the door step of the aircraft.
The morning sun adds up to the beauty of the plane.
Here's the wing, sorry for the winglets aficionados !
At the door, there's a pax-jam.
Since there's no need to hurry, lets take a maximum of pictures of the bird of the day.
well we have to go though…
but not before being sure that my bag has been safely placed in the hold.
As you might have noticed, today we will be flying onboard the 3B-NBG,one of the 2 ATRs 72 which are parts of the Air Mauritius short haul fleet. The 3B-NBG has been delivered to MK in June 2002, not a young bird! It is nicely named, Port Mathurin, which is the administrative city of Rodrigues Island. Just to let you know, at that time, the other ATR of Air Mauritius was undergoing a C-Check. My greatest fear was to fly on the Czech Airlines ATR leased for replacing the MK one. Luckily it was not the case.
Last outdoor pictures.
The cabin is like in my memories, that is small and scaled for me ^^
Same goes for the seat pitch, inspite of the limited size of the aircraft, the legroom is royal for me!
The view through the window which seemed ti have been cleaned with sandpaper :(
Boarding is over and we are waiting for the last desinfection procedures to be completed by the ground staff.
I am very lucky to have the seat next to me, unoccupied. What a good way to start the flight :)
The seat is quite slim and the cabin in general is not brand new but the flight is short enough not to complain.
The overhead pannel bears testimony of the aircraft's adavanced age.
The seat pocket contains a tranparent pouch,
…which hides the classical vomit bag, security cards and inflight magazine.
For this internal flight, my National ID was enough.
At 5:45, the door is closed, engines started and we begin our taxi.
We rapidly reached the runway…
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and left the ground. The take-off is always spectacular showing the magnificent Mahebourg region and its blue lagoon.
Here we can see Pointe d'Esny beach and the Aigrettes island,laid in the beautiful lagoon of the Mahebourg Bay. This bay has been a key point in the history of Mauritius as it is the very place where Napoleon won his only sea battle against the British navy. This victorious battle is featured on top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
As we climbed, the clouds became more and more dense.
Once the seat belt sign off. i went to roam about that cabin in which i last flew a long time ago.
Well what else can i say that everything is really minimal in size, it is a radical change from the A380 !
The mini galley at the rear.
As well as a crewseat.
Details of the small galley.
The main cabin door.
While i was inspecting, the service began at the front of the cabin.
Back to my seat…
The two male cabin crews are busy serving fellow passengers..
The breakfast is actually presented in box.
Box which hides…
…a cheese stuffed croissant, a slice of cake, a tiny bag of crackers, a small box of juice (which is unfortunately not local)and a refreshing towel.
We are then offered a choice of hot and cold drinks, i will go for a tea.
The whole service of this one and a half hour flight, not so bad!
After having taken back the boxes and litter, one of the crew distributed a peppermint, localy made this time.
Lets fill in the disembarkation card given at the beginning of the flight.
The seats recline.
The flight was quite short, here we are descending over the beautiful and renowned lagoon of Rodrigues .
Overflying Cocos and Sand Island, both birds nature reserves, accessible for Cocos Island but not for Sand Island.
Rodrigues wild coast.
Touching down soon…
Soft landing, 10 min before schedule and turn around at the end of the runway.
Taxi to the parking.
Everybody deplaned rapidly and i took the opportunity to take one more picture of the slim seats of this small bird..
With the sun now high in the sky, we can enjoy the view on the bird of the day..
My bag survived the flight!
Lets head straight to the tiny terminal named, Gaetan Duval, after a politician who worked hard for the development of tourism in Mauritius.
The ATR stands proudly on the small Plaine Corail airport.
The airfiled is really closed to the lagoon.
Next step, ID control.
Last sight of our aircraft.
After the ID control, we can chose to go directly to the bagage carousel or the small taxfree shop which offers good deals. Note that the use of plastic bags is totaly forbidden in Rodrigues, all the passengers are given cloth made bags for their dutyfree shopping. Good point for this tiny island, caring about its environment.
The carousel is adapted to the size of the airport..
It is a big change compared to the ancient version of bag delivery which consisted of a mere table where the bags were piled.
The poor bag who was forced to travel in the hold ^^
First steps on this tiny piece of land lost in the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean.
Ready for adventure, Welcome to Rodrigues :)
Thank you for your attention and i hope to see you soon onboard for the return flight where i will add some highlights of the wonderful Island of Rodrigues.
Port Louis - MRU
Port Mathurin - RRG
In general, it was a very good flight.
Cabin comfort - The old cabine deserved not more than 7 to me. The Toilets were really outdated and worn out, nevertheless, the were very clean. The seats were narrow but can we expect more on such a short flight?
Crew - Both crew did their job well but one of the two was not at all smily, thats why i did not put 10
Meals and Catering - Compared to a couple of years ago, the level of service on the flights to Rodrigues has been lowered. Indeed, before, the service consisted of a full tray, with a starter, a cold dish and a dessert (for the dinner and lunch concerned flights) and a more consequent tray for the other flights. Nonetheless, compared to what some other airlines offer on such short haul flights, MK's offer is still reasonable, so 9.
Entertainement - For an ATR we won't be too picky, there were some newspapers on demand and the inflight magazine is interesting enough to put a 9
On-Time Performance - Departure and arrival before schedule, what else? 10
Departure Airport - A brand new airport with the domestic section well designed for its use, 10.
Arrival Airport - The Gaetan Duval Airport is a drastical change compared to the ancient one, it is perfect for what it has been built for.
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