South African Airways has become a new operator of the Airbus A330, having received the first of six new A330-200s from lessor Aircastle Limited.
Aircastle is due to take delivery in 2011 of all six of the A330-200s it ordered, and is leasing all of the aircraft to South African Airways.
Seating 36 passengers in business class and 186 in economy, the aircraft will feature the latest in-flight entertainment and will be used primarily on long-haul routes from the airline’s bases in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The new A330 joins South African Airways’ existing Airbus fleet of 11 A319s, 14 A340-200s/300s and nine A340-600s, enabling the airline to reap the benefits of Airbus’ cockpit and operational commonality. This allows airlines to use the same pool of pilots, cabin crews and maintenance engineers, resulting in operational flexibility and significant cost savings, according to Airbus.
“With the new A330s South African Airways continues to modernize its fleet, ensuring we meet our customers’ expectations. Simultaneously, the new A330s will provide savings and efficiencies to support our profitability and growth strategies,” says South African Airways’ CEO, Siza Mzimela.
With a typical range capability of 7,250 nautical miles (for a two-class configuration), the A330-200 can cover all ranges from short-haul to true long-haul and many airlines see the aircraft as being suitable for point-to-point operations.
The A330 is one of the most widely used widebody aircraft in service today. On average an A330 takes off every minute of every day. To date, Airbus has won over 1,100 orders for the different models of the aircraft. Some 750 A330s have already been delivered and the aircraft is currently flying with 90 operators worldwide in 50 countries.
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