South African Airways (SAA) has received another two new A320 airliners from Airbus, out of a total order for 20. Deliveries began in July last year.
SAA said the two new aircraft were delivered this week, with a fifth A320 expected in June and the sixth and seventh aircraft due in the third quarter of this year. Aircraft number eight will be delivered in the last quarter of 2014. Deliveries of all 20 are scheduled to conclude by 2017.
“We are very excited about the latest new arrivals in our fleet, which brings our customers the added pleasure of flying on brand new aircraft. Besides the improved on board offering, customers can enjoy their flying experience knowing that they are travelling with a more fuel efficient aircraft and thus part of the airline’s commitment to being an environmentally responsible airline,” said Kendy Phohleli, SAA General Manager Commercial (Acting).
The A320s will replace SAA’s present fleet of Boeing 737-800s and will augment the A319s it already has in service. Airbus said the development is set to deliver cost efficiencies and allow SAA to expand its Sub-Sahara regional route network and boost revenue in the rapidly growing market.
SAA placed an order for 15 A320 passenger aircraft with Airbus in 2002, together with eleven of the smaller A319s and 15 of the larger A340 airliners. Deliveries were due to commence in 2010. While the latter two aircraft types have already been delivered, in 2004 SAA said it was cancelling the A320 part of the order, but Airbus never acknowledged the cancellation and continued to keep the order on its books. In February last year it was reported that SAA had renegotiated its purchase agreement and that 20 new Airbus A320s would now be delivered.
The new A320s are configured with 24 Business Class (39 inch pitch) and 114 Economy Class seats (31 inch pitch) featuring USB and PC power points. In the pipeline are Samsung tablets, with in flight entertainment content already loaded, which will be offered to business class travellers on longer African flights. As a future innovation SAA is testing new IFE technology where content will be streamed on board to customers’ own devices.