South African Airways is getting new planes – including extra legroom and lie-flat beds

South African Airways is introducing new aircraft to its ageing fleet.

In a statement on Sunday (30 June), the airline said that it will supplement its existing long-haul fleet with new Airbus A350-900 planes which are modern, twin-engine, and wide-body aircraft.

The aircraft will operate on one of SAA’s ultra-long-haul routes between Johannesburg and New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

“The introduction of these state-of-the-art aircraft to our fleet is an important step-change as we continue to make progress to transform our business and return the airline to financial sustainability in the shortest time possible,” said acting SAA CEO, Zukisa Ramasia.

“These aircraft present an immediate opportunity to offer an improved product between Johannesburg and New York which will be accompanied by unmatched and consistent customer experience for both Business and Economy Class customers.”

New features

Ramasia said that the A350 will have 246 economy class seats with the first six rows offering extra legroom to provide a more comfortable experience – especially on longer flights.

The business class will have lie-flat beds with the entire cabin outfitted with a modern In-flight Entertainment (IFE).

“We are proud to offer our customers the latest generation aircraft with a modern product, including a quieter cabin, a more relaxing environment during flight, and the latest in-flight entertainment,” she said.

SAA said that it will take delivery of the aircraft in the second half of 2019 and that it plans to lease the planes for up to three years.


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South African Airways is getting new planes – including extra legroom and lie-flat beds