The board of directors of Air Madagascar (MD, Antananarivo) has chosen Air Austral (UU, St. Denis de la Réunion) as its preferred bidder the carrier has officially announced.

As previously reported, the two finalists in the selection process boiled down to Air Austral and Ethiopian Airlines (ET, Addis Ababa). IOS Partners and TroyAvi assisted in the evaluations. They then submited their recommendations to the airline's board which, in turn, forwarded it to the country's cabinet for approval on March 13.

La Réunion-based Air Austral will now finalize its negotiations with the Malagasy state. If all proceeds smoothly, a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed on March 31 followed by a strategic partner contract and a shareholders' agreement on May 31.

The two carriers have an existing relationship wherein Air Austral codeshares on Air Madagascar's weekly Antananarivo to Guangzhou, China, via St. Denis de la Réunion service.