BOEING HAS EMERGED as the winner of the South African Airways (SAA) aircraft competition with an order for seven 777-200s and two extra 747-400s.

Engines have yet to be selected, says SAA, but the airline has asked for proposals from General Electric, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce, with a decision due by the end of November.

The aircraft acquisition, worth R3.5 billion ($960 million), is the largest in the airline's history and had resulted in a fierce three-cornered fight between Airbus, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas.

Provision of a major offset deal was a core requirement for the contract, and South African Minister for Public Enterprises Stella Sigcau says that the total amount for airframe and engines will total R2.8 billion. Part of this is understood to be coming from a R110 million cash contribution towards pilot and technical-training programmes.

SAA says that the 777s will run alongside the older 747s on routes to the Far East and Middle East, allowing the airline to expand frequencies. The 747-400s will provide increased services to London and the USA.

The airline says that cargo and passenger traffic has been growing at more than 20%, putting pressure on the existing capacity. It adds that a replacement was needed for the five 747-200s, which are all more than 22 years old.


Source: Flight International