South African Airways firms renegotiated A320 order

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South African Airways has firmed its order for five additional Airbus A320s, and confirmed they will be powered by International Aero Engines V2500s.

The aircraft were part of an augmented agreement for 20 A320s tentatively agreed last year, after SAA renegotiated an order for 15 of the type placed back in 2002.

These 15 jets had originally been part of a deal for 41 Airbus aircraft. SAA received nine A340-600s, 11 A319s and six A340-300Es covered by the order, but mistakenly believed it had cancelled the A320 portion.

As part of the renegotiation the South African flag-carrier also agreed to lease six Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered A330s from lessor Aircastle.

SAA has six A340-200s which will be replaced as the A330s arrive. The first A330 is due in February 2011.

"Because they offers a seamless fit with the other Airbus aircraft types which we operate, the A320s will assist in our efficiency drive and reduce maintenance costs," says SAA chief executive Siza Mzimela.

SAA stated in its annual report last year that it had increased the A320 order to 20 aircraft "at a total price that does not exceed the indicative value of the original order for 15 placed in 2002".

Airbus confirms the engine selection, which is in line with SAA's other Airbus A320-family jets, and says deliveries of the A320s will begin in 2013.