Monday, July 1, 2013

► SOUTH AFRICA: Mango to lease two 737-800s from Safair before year end.

South African LCC, Mango (JE), the sister carrier to South African Airways, plans to lease two 737-800s from ACMI specialists, Safair (FA), before the end of the year, CEO Nico Bezuidenhout has said. Mango currently operates six B737-800s and a sole B737-300.

Mango 737-800
Mango 737-800 (Montague Smith)
Speaking recently to CAPA, CEO Nico Bezuidenhout said Mango plans to more than double its fleet to 15 737-800s over the next three to four years following which a domestic saturation point would be reached. Thereafter, any further aircraft added to the fleet would be premised on his airline launching international operations, which at present are limited to charter flights to Zanzibar, though recently, the airline applied for 3x weekly traffic rights to both Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.

SAA's previous administration had also considered using Ghana as a potential West African hub for Mango/SAA though it is uncertain how the airline's new board will treat this in its proposed Turnaround Plan.

Safair Lease Finance Ltd is no stranger to South African Airways (SA) contracts. In 2002, it took over SAA purchase agreements for five 737-800s that were subsequently leased back to the airline for a period of 10 years.

As part of the terms of a 2010 sale and purchase agreement between Aergo Capital Limited and ASL Aviation Group in which ASL would acquire aircraft worth USD250million, Safair Lease Finance Limited and Safair Operations, among other holdings, were to acquire five 737-800s, five A300-B4 freighters and three ATR 72-500s.