SOUTH African Airways will soon issue a request for proposals to manufacturers Airbus Industrie and Boeing for the supply of long-range aircraft.
SAA's executive vice-president for operations, Johan van Jaarsveld, says the airline hopes to decide on its choice of aircraft before the end of 2001.
The airline's 11 ageing B747 "classics" are less fuel-efficient than the newer aircraft of competing airlines and are now incurring huge penalties for excessive exhaust emissions and noise footprints at Europe's major airports.
Van Jaarsveld says SAA has completed its evaluation of the new aircraft. He says they all have positive and negative features. The frontrunners are the four-engined Airbus A340 and Boeing's twin-engined B777.
Also under consideration are the A330 and B767 twins.
"We have not discounted a comprehensive international and domestic fleet solution which would see one manufacturer providing us with a whole new fleet. I think it is going to come down to who offers us the best price and the speediest delivery," says Van Jaarsveld.
SAA is weighing its options on whether to buy, lease or seek a combination of both in what is certain to turn out to be a multibillion-rand deal.
Kiran Rao, Airbus Industrie's vice president for Africa and India, says the company will offer a tailored solution built around the A330/A340 family.
"SAA is an important and long-standing Airbus customer. We will help SAA retire its old and uneconomic 747 fleet with modern aircraft which will enhance the airline's profitability.
"We will offer the most competitive solution, addressing SAA's requirements in terms of cost, financing, payload and range performance, and rapid delivery," promises Rao.
Boeing's sales director for Southern Africa, Mike Smith, says the company could deliver B777-200 extended range aircraft and B767s by the fourth quarter of next year, depending on the number required.
He says that, if SAA opts for the rival A340-300, Boeing will be able to supply these aircraft as well since it had acquired some from Singapore Airlines.
In a controversial R4.3-billion upgrade last year, SAA bought 21 B737-800s and sold off seven Airbus A320s.
At the time the airline, under then chief executive Coleman Andrews, said price and availability were the deciding factors.
The seemingly rushed deal - the new Boeings began arriving just three months after the announcement - caused problems for SAA, not least the training of cockpit crew to convert to the new models.
The airline has had to wet-lease aircraft from local companies and, more recently, employ 12 Argentinian crews to fly the older 737-200s on local and regional routes while SAA crews convert to the new aircraft.
The Boeings themselves have also had their share of teething problems, which the airline is ironing out.
It'll be interesting to see which company gets it. I'm really not quite sure which one I think will get the contact. In my opinion it'll all depend on the best deal and who will deliver the aircraft the quickest. Some people were wondering the other day, what Boeing will do with the A340's that they've bought from SIA...well, I guess they're planning to use it in order to be at an advantage to Airbus. Airbus should buy a couple of B777's then in my opinion.
Anyway, any ideas from anybody about who will get the contract?
SR3496 From Switzerland, joined May 2000, 792 posts, RR: 21
Reply 1, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 6149 times:
For me the need of the Airbus A330/Boeing 767 does not really exist for SAA. They almost only need longhaul a/c.
And for this I think the two engine 777ER (both 200 and 300) is in the lead. But if Airbus gives them a real cool deal, why not go with the A340?
American 767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3648 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6065 times:
I think that SAA is looking at either the A330 or the 767, probably 400ER who knows, to replace the A300. SAA has been operating the A300 on flights within Africa, mostly from Johannesburg to Cape Town, for close to 25 years. The A330 and the 767-300ER/400ER are medium range widebody twins which would fit on SAA's network within South Africa as well as other Southern African destinations such as Nairobi, Kinshasa, Harare,...SAA has quite a strong network within Africa. I don't think that the 767-400ER would have the range to fly nonstop from Johannesburg to destinations in Southern Europe such as Athens, Rome or Tel Aviv, with a full load of PAX/Cargo, because of payload restrictions in JNB. The are payload restrictions on some flights out of JNB because it's elevation is at over 5000ft MSL which means thinner air, hence less lift produced when full power is applied, an aicraft at the same weight would need more runway length at 5000ft than at Sea Level.
About the Classic 747 replacement, SAA is still discussing about the A340 or the B777ER but I think that the B777ER is more likely to be chosen. I say that because SAA was already seriously looking at the 777, I think that they almost ordered those. That's if SAA chooses the B767 over the A330 for the A300 replacement, but if they choose the A330 then they will choose the A340 for the long haul network to reduce crew training and maintenance costs.
Hamlet69 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 2703 posts, RR: 58
Reply 4, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6041 times:
As the article states, both aircraft would have their pluses and minuses for SAA. Just off the top of my head:
- longer range
- greater payload
- reduced maintenance stemming from twin-engine design
- quicker delivery (presumed)
- slightly higher fuel comsumption
- ETOPS limitations covering South Atlantic and Indian Oceans
- route freedom on South Atlantic and Indian Ocean sectors
- lower overall fuel consumption
- lower initial investment (presumed)
- no commonality w/ remaining fleet (A320's & A300's to be replaced with 737-800(W)'s)
- 4-engine design increases maintenance
"Wouldnt 4 engines be more suitable for them due to the lack of suitable diversion fields in some places in Africa"
As I stated in the above, the 2 vs. 4 debate only comes into effect when flying sectors from South Africa to Australia or South America. Intra- and/or Trans-Africa flights all fit into standard ETOPS.
"I think that SAA is looking at either the A330 or the 767, probably 400ER who knows, to replace the A300."
When SAA announced their purchase of the 737-800, they said this aircraft would replace the A320 and the A300 to create a common domestic and regional fleet. See: http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2000/news_release_000301a.html
This does not, however, preclude an A330 or 767 purchase, of course. . .
"That's if SAA chooses the B767 over the A330 for the A300 replacement, but if they choose the A330 then they will choose the A340 for the long haul network to reduce crew training and maintenance costs."
This argument should actually be reversed. SAA is going to decide on their long-haul (777/A340) aircraft first. Then, if they decide to purchase a twin-aisle medium-range bird, it will probably be based on thier long-haul choice.
"I say that because SAA was already seriously looking at the 777, I think that they almost ordered those."
SAA actually did order the 772ER in December 1995. These were eventually cancelled in favor of more 744's however, in May of last year.
CV640 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 952 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6023 times:
Imagine if they choose A340s and Airbus could still miss out on the sale, really strange. Definitely something different, although I think the 777 has the advantage. I believe they had some on order before they ran into economic troubles a few years ago
Greg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 6017 times:
It's interesting to note that a large offset agreement between Boeing and the gov't of South Africa was announced by Boeing last week (check they website).
I believe the company involved makes aircraft interior furnishings.
This may very likely be a prelude to an aircraft order since SA prefers this type of arrangement.
RayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 7929 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 5995 times:
I think SAA--because of the need to fly across the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic--should be seriously looking at the Airbus A340-500/600 series, since the A345/A346 won't have ETOPS certification concerns.
I think in the end, SAA may end up buying 10-13 A346's specifically because of the need to fly to South American and southern Asian destinations from CPT and JNB.
SunAir From India, joined Jun 2009, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5947 times:
I think the B777-200ER would be the best choice for SAA.
The rest of the fleet is Boeing.
As Greg pointed out, the Government has just chosen Boeing for their aircraft (BBJ).
I don't think the A330 or the B767 have a great chance because SAA has had B767's and A300's, so why would they want to get these aircraft, although slightly different versions than the ones that they had, again?
They were replaced with B738's, and these serve African destinations. There are no destinations served by SAA in southern Europe, so I don't think these aircraft would be suitable for SAA.