South African Airways' (SAA) is to recommend to its parent company Transnet this week that the Boeing 737-800 is selected for its new short-haul fleet. Deliveries could begin this year.

The airline, 20% owned by Swissair parent SAirGroup, with the rest held by state-owned Transnet, has studied offers from Airbus Industrie and Boeing for 20-25 new aircraft to replace its 24-strong short/medium haul fleet, which includes Airbus A300B2/B4s, A320s and Boeing 737-200 Advs. It is understood that a requirement of the package was that it included local offset work.

Sources close to the deal say the SAA recommendation is that the 160-seat 737-800s are acquired through operating leases and orders placed directly with Boeing. GATX Flightlease, the joint venture between the SAirGroup leasing division and the US leasing company GATX, is understood to be the source for some aircraft.

Source: Flight International