Friday, July 26, 2013

► SOUTH AFRICA: SAA officially issues tenders to Boeing, Airbus for 23 widebodies.

SAA logoConfirming former interim CEO Nico Bezuidenhout's statement regarding an order for 25-30 widebody aircraft, likely to be either 787s or A350s, South African Airways (SA) Chief Financial Officer, Mr Wolf Meyer, has confirmed that the airline has indeed issued a tender to both Boeing and Airbus for "twenty-three" aircraft, set to be delivered from 2017 onwards.

A rendering of an SAA 787
(Royal S. King).
Financial newswire Bloomberg quotes Mr Wolf as saying the choice of aircraft would "obviously" be dependent on how well suited the aircraft are to the airline's network requirements.
The tender has already gone to both aircraft manufacturers,” the state-owned airline’s Chief Financial Officer Wolf Meyer said today in a phone interview. “Obviously our decision will be driven by how well the aircraft suits our network requirements.

We currently have 23 wide-body aircraft in our fleet and we will be looking to replace all of them,” Meyer said. “We will like to replace them as soon as possible. It will depend on the slots available from the manufacturers” and leasing companies and their obligations. Airbus and Boeing have few deliveries available for their most popular long-range jets after years of strong order bookings.
During the recent 69th International Air Transport Association's Annual General Meeting held in Cape Town, Airbus Africa VP of sales, Hadi Akoum, "urged" SAA to hurry up with its selection, adding that the A350 production line was fast filling up. Some anaylsts have speculated to Airbus being the stronger contender for the contract given the airline's long haul fleet currently consists of six A330-200s, eight A340-300s, nine A340-600s and a lone A340-200.

South African Airways recently embarked on the first stage of its medium-haul aircraft renewal plan when it took delivery of its first two A320-200s, part of an order for twenty, that will gradually replace the airline's Boeing 737-800 fleet. SAA has agreed with Standard Chartered Plc’s Pembroke unit for a 12-year sale and lease-back agreement for 10 of the planes, with the process of financing the remaining 10 Airbus A320s to commence next week.