South African carrier Comair Limited has announced it placed an order in December for eight Boeing 737 MAX 8s, which the manufacturer values at $830 million at list prices.
It is the first Boeing 737 MAX order announcement for an African operator. The manufacturer booked Comair’s order in December 2013 and on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website has attributed it until now to an unidentified customer.
“We’re proud to be the first African operator to announce an order the 737 MAX,” says Erik Venter, chief executive officer of Comair. “This investment in Comair’s fleet upgrade is fundamental to its business strategy of consistently improving customer service and value, while ensuring a sustainable airline.
Adds Venter: “Our decision to make this investment was not taken lightly and is a critical component in managing our exposure to the volatile fuel price and thus minimizing the impact of the fuel price on airfares.”
Johannesburg-based Comair operates Africa’s first low-cost carrier, kulula.com, offering flights between South Africa’s major cities.
Comair Limited is also a franchise partner of British Airways, operating its local and regional Southern African routes. The company currently flies an all-Boeing fleet of 25 Classic and Next-Generation 737s on its kulula.com and British Airways (operated by Comair) brands.
The company’s order for eight Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets will support Comair’s future fleet renewal and expansion, according to Boeing.
Including its March 19 order announcement, Comair has a total of 12 aircraft on order from Boeing: the eight 737 MAX 8s and four Boeing 737-800 aircraft for delivery in 2015 and 2016.
Since Boeing launched the 737 MAX program in 2011, the 737 MAX family has amassed orders for more than 1,800 aircraft from customers throughout the world.