If you know of an airline with too much bureaucracy, please have them ship cartons of red tape and forms in triplicate to South African Airways.
At the end of this month the carrier will remove two leased 737-800 aircraft from its fleet–but not because it wants to.
The carrier is believed to have “forgotten” to renew the 737s’ leases, according to a local media report. But don’t worry: a spokesman declines to comment on the accusation, except to say the 737 loss is no “train smash”.
A spokeswoman for the SAA Pilots Association said the aircraft were being returned as their leases were ending, without commenting whether the return was intentional or not.
Train smash or not, the carrier is understood to have held a meeting stretching into Wednesday evening about what to do.
The spokesman said SAA may look to increase the fleet’s efficiency, but confirmed no routes or frequencies would be cut as a result of the expiring leased 737s, as well as a third 737 being transferred to SAA’s low-cost subsidiary Mango. In fact, Mr No Train Smash says, the carrier would look to expand this year.
Although SAA plans to replace its 737s with A320-series jets, that will not occur until 2013. The carrier is reportedly due to receive 2 A330-200s this year, but those are pegged to be used on long-haul routes.
This is apparently not the first such instance of forgetting about capital investments. Last year, the media report says, it became public that SAA believed a contract with Airbus had already been canceled and so SAA did not cancel the contract.
But again, this isn’t a train smash.