SAA receives first of five new Airbus A330-300 aircraft

African News Agency (ANA)

SAA receives first of five new Airbus A330-300 aircraft

South African Airways (SAA) has taken delivery of the first of five new Airbus A330-300 aircraft in a bid to expand its current route network and improve efficiency.

The embattled national carrier said in a statement on Saturday the remaining four aircraft were due to be delivered later this month and early next year. The A330s would complement SAA’s existing Airbus long-haul and domestic and regional fleet, which included 10 A320s delivered last year.

The A330-300s offered state-of-the-art technology, were environmentally friendly, and provided a “comfortable flying experience”, SAA said.

The latest A330-300 featured an increased 242-ton maximum take-off weight and had an extended range of 6350 nautical miles, or 11,750km, and would fly routes of up to 11 hours. The aircraft, which arrived in the country on Friday, had seating for 249 passengers, with 46 in premium business class and 203 in economy class.

SAA said this combination of payload and range would enable SAA to expand its route network in Africa and beyond. SAA acting chief executive Musa Zwane said the new aircraft would bring much needed efficiency and impact positively on SAA’s bottom line.

This was an important milestone for SAA in the context of implementation of its long-term turnaround strategy (LTTS) unveiled three years ago.

“We remain committed to ensuring that the airline becomes financially self-reliant and the arrival of these aircraft mark a stepping stone in our move in that direction. Our projections indicate that we will break even by year 2021 before we start becoming profitable again.

“A new aircraft arrival in our fleet is a special occasion and does not happen often. We are therefore very excited about the potential for growth the new arrivals will offer. Customers will be pleased with the latest-generation on-board amenities and other cabin features on the A330-300s.

They certainly offer customers an improved travel experience,” Zwane said.

In September, SAA reported a record loss of R4.67 billion for the financial year to March 2015, after it took a year to table its financial statements.

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SOURCEAfrican News Agency (ANA)