Air Austral (UU, St. Denis de la Réunion) founder and former CEO, Gérard Ethève, is in the process of setting up a new Reunionaise-based carrier to compete with the likes of his former airline as well as Air France, Corsair International, and XL Airways France in the France - Réunion market.

Code-named NewCo until its official name is unveiled later this year, the LCC project is headed by Ethève and another ex-Air Austral executive, Gabriel Pinelli, and will be based out of St. Pierre de la Réunion, 49km south-east of the island's main St. Denis de la Réunion gateway.

In its report, the Zinfos974 news site says once start-up capital of between EUR24-26 million (USD27.24million) is raised, the carrier will initially employ a pair of B767-300(ER)s for a twice or 3x weekly service to either Paris CDG or Paris Orly via Dzaoudzi. Marseilles is also touted as a possible later destination.

A technical stop in either Cairo Int'l or Luxor would be needed given that St. Pierre de la Réunion's primary runway (2'100m) is insufficiently long enough to support intercontinental operations.

Ethève hopes to have the new carrier established by December of this year with flights to launch in the first quarter of next year. Overall, he hopes the budget carrier will secure between 20 and 40% of the market in its first year.