South African airline company Comair, operator of the British Airways brand in South Africa and the Kulula low cost airline brand, on Wednesday signed an approximately $646-million deal with US aerospace giant Boeing for the supply of eight Boeing 737-800 airliners.
“The purchase of new Boeing 737-800s is historic for our company,” said Comair joint CEO Gidon Novick. “[It] gives all our 1 800 staff a great feeling of pride. The new fleet is an essential part of our efficiency drive, which will not only give us a cost leadership position in our industry, but also provide our customers with exceptional levels of reliability and comfort with the spacious new interior.”
Comair’s jet fleet, for both its brands, is composed entirely of Boeing designs. All the new aircraft are destined for service with Kulula, which already has three 787-800s on lease and plans to lease another two – with this deal, Kulula’s 737-800 fleet will total 13.
The eight aircraft now being bought will be fitted with the new “Boeing Sky” cabin interior, originally developed for the American company’s latest airliner design, the 787.
Boeing Sky features include larger stowage bins, new cabin decor, reduced cabin noise, improved passenger service units (the consols containing reading light controls, attendant call buttons and other controls) and a modern touch-screen control panel for the cabin crew.
In addition to the contract for the new 737-800s, Comair is also buying from Boeing Commercial Aviation Services its Maintenance Performance Toolbox.
This integrates the manufacturer’s and airline’s documentation, employs intelligent graphics and cross-document search capability, and allows the linking of aircraft fault data to the required maintenance procedures.
In addition, the Toolbox stores the comprehensive structural repair history for each aircraft, and cuts the time required to access technical information on each aircraft.
Boeing 737-800s already in service provide 5% greater fuel efficiency than the first of the new-generation 737s, which were delivered in 1998.
The new aircraft for Comair will have an additional 2% improvement in fuel efficiency, thanks to aerodynamic and power plant improvements.