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June 2, 2010

SAA plans to finally phase out 747-400s at year-end

Filed under: Airlines — aerotowfeeq @ 11:42 am
Tags: , , , ,

South African Airways will try again to phase out itsBoeing 747-400 fleet at the end of this year.

The Star Alliance carrier first grounded its remaining 747-400s in 2007 as part of a fleet and network restructuring. But while the grounding was initially intended to be permanent, SAA decided toreactivate part of its 747-400 fleet in late 2008.

SAA’s new chief executive Siza Mzimela says two 747-400s operating its Johannesburg to Lagos and Luanda routes are scheduled to permanently exit SAA’s fleet “at the end of the year”

The carrier will begin taking six new Airbus A330-200s in early 2011 on lease, which although mainly seen as a replacement for A340-200s will also allow the carrier to pursue a permanent phase-out of its 747s.

SAA has been a long-standing 747 customer, having introduced the -200 model in 1971, and operated the SP and -300 variants.

At one point it flew 10 747-400s, but returned one batch of aircraft in 2006 and a second batch after the 2007 restructuring was initiated.

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