South African Airways (SAA) has taken delivery of its first two A320s from an order for 20 A320-family aircraft placed with Airbus in 2010.
According to Airbus, South African Airways will use its new A320-family jets ‒ 10 Airbus A320s and 10 A321s ‒ to expand its Sub-Sahara regional route network and boost revenue in the rapidly growing African continental market.
Each of the airline’s 10 new Airbus A320 jets, powered by IAE-V2500 engines, features a two class cabin layout, seating 24 passengers in business class and 114 in economy.
The new A320s and A321s will replace SAA’s current fleet of 13 Boeing 737-800 single-aisle aircraft and will augment the 11 Airbus A319s it already has in service.
“We are delighted to receive our first two A320 aircraft. Operating a modern and homogenous fleet plays a significant role in cost reduction and boosting revenue,” said Monwabisi Kalawe, SAA’s chief executive officer. “The A320 will assist SAA to achieve this while providing our passengers with a more superior cabin product.”
“SAA has long been regarded as a bellwether for Africa on aircraft selection and we are looking forward to expanding our relationship,” remarked John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer, customers.
Those industry observers who are longer in the tooth might recall that this is not the first time SAA has operated Airbus A320s.
Along with a sizable fleet of Boeing 737-200s, the carrier operated a fleet of seven IAE V2500-powered A320s from 1991 to 2002 (this reporter flew on one of the aircraft on a Durban-Johannesburg commercial sector), but decided more than a decade ago to replace those A320s with Boeing 737-800s.
To date, more than 9,600 Airbus A320-family aircraft have been ordered and more than 5,600 delivered to over 380 customers and operators worldwide.