Comair's first Boeing 737 MAX 8 has taken to the skies from the manufacturer's factory in Seattle en route to its home base in Johannesburg, to join the airline's British Airways fleet.
The 737 MAX range is the latest incarnation of the most popular jet aircraft ever. It is equipped with the latest technology to improve the customer experience, range, flexibility and fuel efficiency and deliver unmatched reliability.
As part of its fleet renewal strategy, Comair ordered eight of these aircraft, with next arriving in March and the last one due for delivery in 2022. It is the first airline in Southern Africa to acquire the 737 MAX 8 and the new aircraft will replace its remaining Boeing 737-400s. Wrenelle Stander, Executive Director of Comair's Airline Division, says Comair already has the most modern and efficient fleet in South Africa and the new aircraft will further increase its competitiveness.
“More seats, lower operating costs and less maintenance downtime will enhance operating efficiency and improve punctuality.”
Lufthansa Technik will service Comair's 737 MAX 8 aircraft. “Lufthansa Technik’s experience with the aircraft type and the operational efficiencies we will gain from faster turnaround times will enable us to fully leverage the benefits of our investment and improve customer service,” says Stander.
The fleet renewal strategy has been delivering results since it began in 2001 and the airline now uses 55% less fuel per passenger.
Comair's two airline brands, British Airways - which it operates under licence - and kulula.com, fly to 11 destinations in South and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.
João Miguel Santos, Managing Director of Sub-Saharan Africa, for Boeing International and Director of International Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Africa, says: “Africa's jetliner fleet is forecast to more than double in the next 20 years as the continent's major economies grasp the value of aviation in boosting trade, tourism and commerce both within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world. Three-quarters of the growth will be single-aisle aircraft, showing the 737 range's ongoing popularity and its role in not only airlines' success, but commercial aviation in socio-economic development.”
Technical specifications 737 MAX 8 - British Airways operated by Comair:
Seats (2 class) 174
Range (km) 6,570
Engine LEAP-1B from CFM International