SAA selects avionics supplier for new Airbus fleet


South African Airways (SAA) has selected American avionic supplier Rockwell Collins to supply the full avionics suite and satellite communications equipment for its new Airbus A320 airliners which are due to be delivered later this year.

An order for 15 A320 passenger aircraft was placed by SAA with the European Airbus consortium 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 this year it was reported that SAA had renegotiated its purchase agreement and that 20 new Airbus A320s would now be delivered. This will ensure that the 17 Boeing 737-800s operated by SAA and the four Boeing 737-800s operated by SAA low-cost subsidiary Mango will eventually be replaced by the A320s.

Rockwell Collins says the new aircraft will feature a full suite of Rockwell Collins’ communications, surveillance and navigation avionics. This includes the MultiScan Threat Detection System (a fully automatic airborne weather radar system), the GLU-925 Multi-Mode Receiver (a navigational system that incorporates signals from multiple types of navigational and landing systems into a single presentation) and the Iridium SATCOM satellite communications system.

Claude Alber, vice president and managing director, Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Rockwell Collins, says that “by selecting this package, South African Airways will benefit from our highly reliable, advanced avionics systems that enhance operations, and our world-class service and support.”

SAA also plans to retrofit the MultiScan weather radar to its current fleet of A319 aircraft.