South African Airways is bringing on the most technology-advanced aircraft available for the ultra-long-haul flight between New York John F. Kennedy International Airport and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport.
The new A350-900 will be delivered to SAA in the second half of 2019 and replace the Airbus A340-600 aircraft that are currently being operated on the route. These aircraft will offer enhanced passenger comfort and amenities, and present an opportunity for SAA to reduce fuel burn by approximately 20% compared to the current aircraft operating on the route. This move is expected to translate into significant savings that will contribute towards improved operating costs and financial performance of this important route as well as reduction of carbon emissions.
The aircraft brings a modern in-flight entertainment (IFE) system throughout the cabin. The Business Class cabin will offer fully-flat bed seats, while Economy Class will offer extra legroom seating in the first six rows, offering a more comfortable customer experience.
The state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 will operate daily on the New York JFK-Johannesburg route, said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America for South African Airways. “With this latest generation aircraft, SAA will offer a modern product, including a quieter cabin, a more relaxing environment during flight, and the latest in-flight entertainment, in addition to providing SAA’s legendary world-class service both in the air and on the ground.”
The new A350-900 will be delivered to SAA in the second half of this year and replace the Airbus A340-600 aircraft that are currently being operated on the route.
The new operations will commence following completion South Africa’s regulatory approvals process. The move is significant following years of financial and operational turbulence. The airline went bankrupt in September 2018 but has been kept aloft through cash infusions from the South African Government and a cost-cutting five-year turnaround plan.
South African Airways offers nonstop service from New York-JFK Airport and direct service from Washington, DC-Dulles Airport to Johannesburg via Accra, Ghana or Dakar, Senegal.