South African Airways Airbus A350 Coming To New York In February

South African Airways has scheduled its new Airbus A350 aircraft to serve its flights between Johannesburg and JFK. The model only joined the airline a few months ago, but it will be ready to serve the long haul operation from February 7, 2020.

SAA Airbus A350 Aircraft
South African Airways’ recently delivered A350s are primed for a trip across the Atlantic. Photo: South African Airways

New arrivals

The state-owned flag carrier of South Africa received four A350-900s in November. Since then, the firm has been getting to grips with the jet on domestic operations. These have mostly been on services between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

It was expected that SAA would be operating its A350 aircraft between New York and Johannesburg soon after its introduction. One Mile at a Time reports that the airline has now confirmed the aircraft’s schedule on this route.

Altogether, the flights will be operated six times a week. SA203 will leave O. R. Tambo International Airport at 21:40 and will arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport ay 06:40 the next day. Additionally, SA204 will leave JFK at 10:40 and arrive at JNB at 08:15 the following day.

This flight will travel nearly 8,000 miles in each direction, taking around 14.5 hours to complete while traveling eastbound and 16 hours westbound. Therefore, the A350 is the perfect choice to operate this long-distance operation.

SAA A350
The Airbus A350-900 has a range of 8,100 nm. Photo: South African Airways

Fleet revamp

Earlier this week, SAA acting CEO Zuks Ramasia shared that the group is selling older models to accommodate the arrival of its new A350 aircraft. Altogether, nine wide-body planes are being sold. This is made up of five A340-300s and four A340-600s. Additionally, 15 spare engines and four auxiliary power units are being traded off.

“After we received the four new Airbus A350-900, it has become necessary for us to sell our older models to accommodate the new models with superior features such as the quieter cabin, relaxing in-flight environment and more extra-legroom seats in economy class and lie-flat beds in business class,” Ramasia said as per the press release.

Despite SAA going through a period of financial difficulty, the executive states that the decision to sell these units has nothing to do with the company’s rescue process. The firm has been planning to replace its four-engine aircraft with new generation models for a while. Therefore, this move is merely part of SAA’s fleet renewal program.

SAA Airbus A350
Nine A340s are being sold to make way for SAA’s new arrivals. This aircraft type currently operates the JFK to JNB route. Photo: Airbus

South African growth

The demand for services to South African destinations from the United States is continuing to increase. South Africa’s economy is growing by the year and many US-based firms are looking to benefit from better connections to the country.

Recently, United Airlines launched its direct service to Cape Town from New York, making it the first US carrier to implement such a service. Now, those traveling from New York will also be able to enjoy flights to South Africa on SAA’s A350s.

Simple Flying reached out to South African Airways for comment on the route between New York and Johannesburg. We will update the article with any further announcements from the airline.

Are you excited about this A350 service? Let us know what you think in the comment section.