South African Airways will use Airbus A350s to fly to New York from their hub in Johannesburg. Currently, this flight is operated by an A340-600. However, SAA intends to replace the A340-600 on this route with an Airbus A350 coming from Air Mauritius.
Clicanoo reports that two brand new Airbus A350s will join South African Airways’ fleet instead of Air Mauritius for the time being. These aircraft will be leased out to South African Airways for a period of three years. Delivery is expected to occur before the end of the year. This will allow South African Airways to place the A350 in service by the end of 2019.
Air Mauritius outfits their A350s with 326 seats. This includes 28 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. In economy, Air Mauritius offers 298 seats in a standard 3-3-3 configuration.
It seems that South African Airways will be going with a new configuration onboard. This reportedly includes 30 business class seats and 246 economy class seats. Most likely the aircraft will have 3-3-3 configuration in economy. However, when it comes to business class, South African Airways has a variety of different configurations.
On their older A330s and A340s, SAA offers lie-flat business class in a 2-2-2 configuration. This configuration offers less privacy and is outdated. However, on their Airbus A330-300s, SAA has a new, more modern product.
South African Airways’ financial struggle
South African Airways is a struggling airline. They intend to return to profitability, however, the CEO resigned after being unable to implement a turnaround strategy. It has been eight years since South African Airways last made a profit and it shows in their onboard product. Their A320 is a bit outdated, however, kudos to South African Airways for offering some modern amenities in the form of onboard power outlets in business class.
However, these A350s should help with South African Airways’ costs. It is expected to save 20% on SAA’s fuel bill for the route.
Air Mauritius’ financial results
Air Mauritius posted a loss of €21.7 million for last year. Thus, it makes sense that the airline would be careful with inducting new aircraft. Air Mauritius already flies two A350s and is the first Indian Ocean operator of the Airbus A330neo.
The new Airbus A350s for South African Airways will certainly help improve their fleet modernity. Furthermore, the fuel savings should help South African Airways on this prestigious route. Johannesburg is a major business center in South Africa; there is plenty of demand between the two cities. Furthermore, passengers may also connect to other South African Airways (or Mango!) flights in Johannesburg.
Do you think South African Airways made the right decision to acquire A350s? Will you fly on a South African Airways Airbus A350? Let us know in the comments!