Well as you'll see from the attached report, a decision is expected soon, however, even if a decison is made it may not be clear cut.
The Sunday Times (03.03.02) suggested that the Airbus is the front runner. They (ST) are usually quite good with the accuracy of their stories, but until Transnet have their say everything else will still be speculation. Hopefully the suspense will end this week :
from iafrica.co.za supplied by SAPA.
A decision on whether South African Airways (SAA) would purchase aircraft from Boeing or Airbus — or take another tack — was expected "any day this week," a spokesman said late on Tuesday.
Rich Mkhondo said the decision was currently under review by board of Transnet, the state-owned transport utility that wholly owned SAA.
He said Transnet board sat on Friday to accept, reject or seek further clarification on the SAA board's recommendation.
The recommendations of the two boards would then be taken to Public Enterprises Minister Jeff Radebe for a final decision or a ratification of the boards' decisions.
However, a Sunday paper reported that Airbus Industrie would almost certainly win the R17-billion contract to supply SAA with up to 15 long-range aircraft.
"The choice of Airbus, until now a tightly held secret, is expected to be made known officially in the next week or two," the paper said.
Airbus, a pan-European giant, is bidding its new four-engined A340-600.
Boeing, the US aerospace behemoth, is pushing its twin-engined B777-200.
Reports have previously indicated that SA could also consider renting the aircraft from leasing companies or purchasing them from airlines with surplus aircraft — a common occurrence since the September 11 terror attacks in the US.
Because the two aircraft were in most respects evenly matched, the airline has been stressing that costs, both acquisition and operational, were of paramount importance. The A340-600 reportedly sells around US200-million and the B777-200 at US$193-million, "but depending on the strength of the negotiating team and the strategic importance of the customer, these figures can be reduced to anything between US$100-million and US$150-million in a buyer's market," the Business Times said.
The airline reported a loss of R735-million last year — much of it due to the high cost of operating an ageing fleet of Boeing 747s, which were also subject to penalties for noise and gas emissions over Europe.
"The deciding factor has to be that the A340-600 has four engines which enables it to take off from Johannesburg International's 'hot and high' airport without having to use maximum thrust, thus increasing engine life, and it can lift a greater payload than the B777. It is also capable of being ferried on three engines, so an engine doesn't have to be flown out in the case of a major malfunction," the paper said.
Another concern was aviation safety and the continuing debate of two-engined aircraft flying over open oceans.
The importance of this was demonstrated when a B777 specially flown to South Africa for a fly-off with the Airbus could not take off due to an engine malfunction, afterwards called "rare" by jet manufacturer Rolls-Royce. - Sapa