South African Airways has made the largest single purchase of aircraft in the airline's 61 year history by acquiring nine new aircraft including two 747-400's specifically dedicated to the Springbok route (London-Johannesburg). The airline celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Springbok Route last November.
The acquisition consists of seven Boeing 777-200s and two Boeing 747-400s. The airline currently operates 29 Boeing aircraft within a fleet of 60. The first aircraft will be delivered in 1997 and deliveries will be completed by 1999. The purchase is in response to the growing demand in intercontinental air travel to and from South Africa.
Mr John Smith, South African Airways Senior Manager Europe said: "SAA experienced excellent passenger and cargo growth world-wide last year. We increased our frequency of operation from nine per week in June 1995 to 12 in November 1995 and we are planning to reach 14 weekly frequencies by mid 1996. This, coupled with the continuing growth we expect to see in visitors to South Africa, has made it vital to expand and update our fleet".
The total value of South African Airways investment in the new aircraft is R3.5bn. The three largest civil aircraft manufacturers - The Boeing Company, Airbus Industrie and McDonnell Douglas - were asked to put forward proposals for the expansion and renewal of the South African Airways fleet to meet requirements up to the year 2000.
Suppliers of engines to the aircraft are still to be selected. Rolls Royce, General Electric and Pratt and Whitney and are all tendering for the contract. An announcement is expected within a few weeks.
Financing for the new aircraft will be initially be made from South African Airways parent organisation, Transnet. Further commercial pre-delivery finance will be organised through United States and South African institutions in accordance with agreements reached with the South African Department of Finance.
SAA is the largest domestic carrier in South Africa with over 650 flights a week to seven local destinations including East London, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Upington and George.
The airline serves over 20 destinations throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, in addition to a world-wide network including Europe, the Far East, North and South America and Australia.
South African Airways is a commercialised company and is a division of Transnet, a company with its own board of directors of which the South...