SAA’s A350 aircraft runs first international flight to New York
JOHANNESBURG - National carrier South African Airways said its new Airbus A350-900 aircraft had operated its first international flight from O.R Tambo International Airport to New York’s John F. Kennedy.
The announcement late on Tuesday came hours after the struggling airline said it was in the process of consolidating its flights and had cancelled several on the domestic front as well as selected services between Johannesburg and Munich.
“This inaugural flight was the first that we plan to introduce on our international routes in the near future," SAA acting chief executive officer said Zuks Ramasia said.
"We are excited that our passengers will enjoy the A350s superior features such as a quieter cabin and relaxing in-flight experience including the all-new in-flight entertainment, extra-legroom seats in economy class and lie-flat beds in business class."
The environmentally-friendly aircraft with improved fuel-efficiency can fly further than any other in commercial service, and is one of the four new Airbus A350-900s that SAA added to its fleet last October. It replaces the Airbus A340-600 which was being used on the New York route.
"“The introduction of the A350s will contribute to our operational efficiencies and cost reduction, and forms part of the ongoing fleet renewal programme," Ramasia said.
"Through the A350s, we will lower our operational costs, and save on our fuel consumption by 25 percent and also lower our maintenance costs by 40 percent over a five-year period."
Earlier on Tuesday SAA, which the government put under business rescue in December, said it was scrapping a number of flights from January 20 to January 24 between the Oliver Tambo International, Cape Town and King Shaka airports as well as selected ones to Munich.
It said the decisions were in line with its policy of reviewing flights and consolidating services with low demand.
- African News Agency (ANA)