Last night I was privileged to attend the farewell dinner for SAA's flight engineers. The position of flight engineer at SAA officially becomes redundant on 31 March. Some engineers will stay on beyond this date to crew the last 743s in service.
109 engineers with a total of 2,754 years experience were honoured at a dinner and dance. That's an average service of just over 25 years...not including the time they spent as ground engineers before moving into (as one speaker put it) "the only sideways-looking seat in the airline that doesn't flush!"
SAA expects to retire the last 3 743s within a month or two, this includes the instantly-recognisable Ndizani, as the Airbus fleet continues to grow.
Truly the end of an era, in the year of SAA's 70th birthday.