State-owned carrier South African Airways (SAA) has concluded a $1-billion deal with French aircraft manufacturer Airbus to supply six new wide-body twin-engine A330-200 aircraft in 2011.
All six aircraft would be delivered in 2011 and it was anticipated that SAA would take delivery of the first aircraft in January or February next year.
Speaking to Engineering News Online SAA acting head of group corporate affairs Vimla Maistry said that the deal would boost the company's recent gains it had achieved through a successful restructuring programme.
The twin engine A330 was one of the most extensively used longhaul aircraft in service today and would replace SAA's six A340-200s.
"The new aircraft will be built and configured to SAA's specification, featuring a refreshed cabin interior and an enhanced in-flight entertainment system ensuring that we continue to have a young, world-class fleet," said Maistry.
The new modern fleet would consume significantly less fuel, whichmeant that SAA would emit reduced levels of carbon and nitrous oxide, the most significant contribution to airline emissions.
Speaking at a press briefing in Cape Town on Thursday, French Trade Minister Anne-Marie Idrac said that this deal represented a main partnership between South African and French companies.
Idrac said that the deal was illustrative a long-term and lavish partnership between the two entities.