Where Did South African Airways’ Boeing 767s End Up?

We have recently been taking a look at the fates of some of South African Airways’ (SAA) old aircraft. This series has examined planes from the Airbus A300 and Boeing 747 families, and this next installment will chart the history of SAA’s Boeing 767s. It may have only operated three examples from this family, but they certainly had interesting and varied careers.

SAA Boeing 767
The 767 served SAA for just over a decade, between 1993 and 2004. Photo: Bob Adams via Flickr

ZS-SRA – the only brand-new 767

All three of SAA’s 767s belonged to the 767-200ER variant of Boeing’s popular twin-engine widebody family. Of these aircraft, Planespotters.net reports that it only received one of them brand-new. This plane bore the registration ZS-SRA, and the name Protea. This name refers to a South African plant, after which the country’s cricket team is also nicknamed.

ZS-SRA joined SAA brand-new on August 24th, 1993. This was just three weeks after it had taken its first test flight from its production site in Everett, Washington. The airline deployed the 767 on flights within Africa, as well as further afield to Europe and the Middle East.

Just over six-and-a-half years later, ZS-SRA left SAA’s fleet in March 2000. At this stage, it joined LAM Mozambique Airlines, where it stayed until June 2004. This spell also included a lease to Portugal’s Air Luxor, which took place between May 2001 and February 2002.

Aeromexico Boeing 767
SAA’s first 767 eventually ended its career at Aeromexico. Photo: lkarasawa via Flickr

The aircraft concluded its working career with an 11-year spell at Aeroméxico, which concluded in February 2015. This saw the aircraft return to its lessor, Boeing Capital Corporation (BCC), before eventually being broken up in Victorville, California, the following year. At the time of its scrapping, the plane was just over 23 years old.

ZS-SRB – the first second-hand model

1997 saw SAA lease two second-hand 767s from the UT Finance Corporation. These aircraft had spent the first 13 years of their lives at EgyptAir, which they joined in 1984. ZS-SRB was the first of these to join SAA’s fleet in October 1997, and it took the name Siyaya.

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Egyptair 767
SAA’s two second-hand 767s had entered service with EgyptAir in 1984. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

This aircraft served SAA for around six years, before it was withdrawn and stored in Johannesburg in October 2003. The following March, BTM Capital Corp acquired the aircraft. However, by May 2004, it had entered service with Russia’s KrasAir.

Under the Irish registration of EI-GAA, the aircraft served KrasAir for just over four years, before it ceased operations in 2008. This resulted in the 24-year-old plane being stored at Moscow Domodedovo Airport, where it appears to have remained ever since.

ZS-SRC – still active today

SAA’s third and final 767 (ZS-SRC Ngomeza) had an almost identical career to ZS-SRB for its first 24 years. However, upon KrasAir’s collapse, it wasn’t stored in Russia, but rather in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. It was then acquired within a year.

Eastern Airlines 767
Eastern Airlines still operates the final ex-SAA 767 today. Photo: BriYYZ via Flickr

Its next few years took it back to South Africa. It went first to a company known simply as Aviation Consultants in September 2009, before joining private airline InterAir South Africa in March 2010. After seven years there, it left for the USA in November 2017.

Its first US owner was lessor Odyssey Air Finance LLC, from which KMW Leasing acquired the aircraft a month later. By April 2018, it had re-entered service with Eastern Airlines, where it remains active today as N605KW following a re-registration in June 2019. RadarBox.com shows that it last flew from Topeka to Fort Worth on May 8th.

Did you ever fly on one of SAA’s trio of Boeing 767s? If so, when did you do so, and where did the aircraft take you? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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