bluepoole
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 10:01 pm

The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Fri May 06, 2005 7:49 pm

South African Airways (SAA) is replacing all of their Boeing 737-200's with Airbus A319 aircraft. To date, nine A319's have been delivered. The days of the B732's are numbered...

I've read in the Civil Aviation forum this morning, that a function will be held next month (June) to bid farewell to the B732's, which have served SAA faithfully for many years. Very soon, they will all be gone - it will be a sad day to see them go.

In light of the above, I decided to take a trip to experience the B732 for the last time (in SAA's livery, at least, luckily there are still some other airlines in South Africa with B732's on their fleet!), and to welcome its replacement, the A319. My trip was to Durban - on the outbound leg I would fly on a B732, and return on the new A319. How fitting!

The idea of this trip was not to compare the two types of aircraft with each other, since it would be unfair to compare old with new. I took the opportunity to evaluate the A319 and compare it with the Boeing 737-800, which is also on SAA's fleet, of course. I know it is not a direct comparison in terms of size. I rather concentrated on comfort, cabin noise levels, etc. Oh yes, I must add that it was my first time on an Airbus aircraft of any kind - that was a special and exciting moment for me!

OUTBOUND LEG:
Thursday, 28 April
Johannesburg (FAJS) to Durban (FADN)
Carrier: South African
Aircraft: Boeing 737-200, ZS-SIH "Kei"

It was interesting to fly on "Kei" since one of my friends has built a plastic model of this particular aircraft (OK, so I'm passionate about my hobby and a complete airliner freak). I got comfortable in seat 21F, and luckily the flight was not too full so I had the whole row to myself. Pushback was on time at 14:05, and a couple of minutes later we were airborne (taking off from rwy 21R). After cruising on FL290, we descended and landed on rwy 6 in Durban. Total flight time was 50 mins.

INBOUND LEG:
Thursday, 28 April
Durban (FADN) to Johannesburg (FAJS)
Carrier: South African
Aircraft: Airbus A319, ZS-SFI

Boarding begun later than scheduled, but pushback was still on time at 19:40. I chose seat 26A when I booked online...and got it. The A319 is slightly higher than a B737, I noticed (or it seems like you are sitting higher, at least). Still want to go and check the specs on both types. Take-off was powerful from rwy 24...we climbed to FL350 and headed straight for JNB. Once again the flight time was 50 mins and we landed on rwy 21L. We had to stop before crossing rwy 21R on our way to the terminal, to allow a SAA B744 to depart. It rotated at the moment I could see it, and boy was that a sight!

I liked the interior of the A319. As for cabin noise levels and comfort, it feels pretty much the same as the B737-800: not better, not worse. The A319 is fitted with Recaro seats. I liked the concept of a built-in cup holder (inside the tray) when the tray is in the stored position. Sometimes you are finished eating but still have your drink left, but you want to fold the tray away to read a magazine, etc.

The SAA B737-200's will sadly be missed...I think SAA has received good service out of them. Times are moving on, and the Airbus A319 seems like a good replacement. Hopefully it will prove itself as a worthy & faithful aircraft too!
Aircraft types flown on: A319, B727, B732, B733, B738, B744, DC9, MD82, DH3, DH4
 
atco2b
Posts: 1099
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 5:20 pm

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Fri May 06, 2005 8:04 pm

I would like to fly on both of those A/C types! Nice report  Smile
Hey, you want to go out for pizza and some sex? What, you don't like pizza?
 
B747-437B
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Fri May 06, 2005 9:58 pm

Quoting Bluepoole (Thread starter):
a couple of minutes later we were airborne (taking off from rwy 21R)

I think that I actually saw your flight taking off from my hotel room at the Intercontinental Sun. I had just gotten back from some meetings around 215pm that day and the sound of the 732 taking off drew me to the window just as you guys passed by.  Smile
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
UK_Dispatcher
Posts: 2254
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2001 8:44 pm

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Sat May 07, 2005 12:46 am

I'm glad to hear you got a last chance to sample the SA 732. I've always been very fond of the 731/732, and took my last flights recently with FR (scroll down Trip Reports to view).

I love the 'clamshells' on landing - always worth sitting behind the wing for!

I assume CE are still planning to fly the 732s for quite a while longer in South Africa. Do they still operate the 721 & 722 too??
 
LPLAspotter
Posts: 671
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 4:27 am

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Tue May 10, 2005 9:18 am

Quoting Bluepoole (Thread starter):
OK, so I'm passionate about my hobby and a complete airliner freak

Aren't we all!!!!!!!!! I even remember flying my first 747 which, coincidentally, was on SAA, named Lebomobo, in 1974.

Nice report.
LPLAspotter
Nuke the Gay Wales for Christ
 
AIR MALTA
Posts: 1737
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 6:45 am

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Tue May 10, 2005 5:51 pm

My last B732 flight was on Air Malta on the TUN-MLA-TUN route. That was back in 2002!

My first B738 flight was last December with SAA. I pretty enjoyed that bird and the service on SAA. The service and the catering were amazing and the FAs were very friendly like all South Africans I have to say. I tend to prefer the 737NG family to the A32X family but I do not why, may be because Airbus is dominating my trips these days!
Next flights : BRU-ZRH-CAI (LX)/ BRU-FCO-TLV (AZ)
 
User avatar
TS-IOR
Posts: 3518
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2001 9:44 pm

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Tue May 10, 2005 6:50 pm

AIR MALTA, what about your first DH8 experience ? May we expect a trip report like for TUN-VIE ?
 
AIR MALTA
Posts: 1737
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 6:45 am

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Tue May 10, 2005 7:22 pm

Quoting Ts-ior (Reply 6):
AIR MALTA, what about your first DH8 experience ? May we expect a trip report like for TUN-VIE ?

Well my DH8 experience was cool. It is defintely more confortable to ride thant the ATR family. Also seeing the tyres touch the runway on landing is quit exciting! I shall be writing a trip report soon. But I am little bit lazy  Wink
Next flights : BRU-ZRH-CAI (LX)/ BRU-FCO-TLV (AZ)
 
essjay
Posts: 75
Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2000 10:44 pm

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Wed May 11, 2005 4:03 am

Hi Bluepoole,

Thanks for info; living in PLZ, I have been on my fair share of B732s, including Kei a few times. I live quite close to the airport and I've noticed the A319s have started serving PLZ...the engines have a distinct noise, quite different from the booming B732s and fairly quiet B738s.

A question for you: did your A319 have Business Class? I booked a Business Class Voyager Award ticket for July, but SAA called me today to say that there is no Business Class on this aircraft so they've dowgraded me Economy.

I've seen photos on A.net and it looks like there is Business; the seat plans I've seen online suggest a Business Class configuration at the front of the plane...have they kept the seats, but dropped the Business Class service? Any idea?

Cheers!
 Wink
 
bluepoole
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 10:01 pm

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Wed May 11, 2005 4:19 pm

UK_Dispatcher - yes, CE still looks very happy with the 732's, and yes they still use the 721 and the 722's!

Essjay - the A319 definitely had the business class seats, it was exactly like the layout plan on the website suggests (5 rows with 5 seats each). Unfortunately I am not sure if they provided the Business Class service, but I remember that there were people in those seats and the dividing curtain between Business & Economy was closed during the flight.
Aircraft types flown on: A319, B727, B732, B733, B738, B744, DC9, MD82, DH3, DH4
 
sulman
Posts: 1963
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:09 am

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Wed May 11, 2005 5:58 pm

I took the SAA 732's from Capetown to Durban and back in 2001. Terrific aircraft, alot of character. SAA remains one of my favourite airlines for service, both on domestic and long haul.


James
It takes a big man to admit they are wrong, and I am not a big man.
 
jrebel
Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2000 5:14 am

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Wed Jun 01, 2005 3:41 am

Quoting Essjay (Reply 8):
SAA called me today to say that there is no Business Class on this aircraft so they've dowgraded me Economy....have they kept the seats, but dropped the Business Class service?

Correct. SA will no longer offer C class on flights to Port Elizabeth, George, East London, Livingstone and Victoria Falls. Voyager elites will be first in line to be seated in the C class cabin on flights to and from these destinations.

johan
 
SA006
Posts: 1818
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 3:28 am

RE: The Old And The New: SAA B732 & A319

Fri Jun 03, 2005 2:55 am

Bluepool - Great stuff mate! Had the pleasure of flying back from DUR on SAA 732 ZS-SIB (Limpopo) back in August last year. Luckily , as you said there are still quite a few airlines still flying the 732 in South Africa. Nationwide are receiving another one pretty soon (ZS-PIX)

Quoting LPLAspotter (Reply 4):
I even remember flying my first 747 which, coincidentally, was on SAA, named Lebomobo, in 1974.

Funny , I flew on one of Lebombo's last commercial services from GRJ to JNB. An awesome flight. Went all the way to GRJ just for that one. That was back in December 2003.

-SA006  wave 
Proudly South African

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