CALC Delivers First Airbus A320ceo to South African Airways

A South African Airways Airbus A320ceo in flight.
Photo Credit: CALC

China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited (CALC), a provider of comprehensive aircraft solutions for the global aviation industry, has marked the delivery of one Airbus A320ceo to South African Airways.

It recently completed the successful delivery of the first of three Airbus A320CEO aircraft to national airline South African Airways (SAA).  

This becomes a notable milestone as the South African carrier celebrates its 90th anniversary. It forms a part of the airline’s fleet upgrade program.

Airbus A320ceo

This 2016-vintage A320ceo, equipped with IAE V2527-A5 SelectTwo™ engines, previously belonged to Vietnamese airline Pacific Airlines. CALC facilitated a swift redelivery, ensuring a seamless transition for SAA.

This new partnership with South Africa’s flag carrier marks a significant step for CALC, solidifying its presence within the African continent.  

For the lessor, it showcases its capabilities as a truly globalized business, particularly within the Southern Hemisphere.

Global Supply Chain Presents Challenges

Prof. John Lamola, Interim Chief Executive Officer of South African Airways spoke of the external challenges facing the airline. “The current global aircraft supply chain presents significant challenges,” he said.

“We’re delighted to celebrate this successful partnership with CALC as they support our fleet plan and our vision for a profitable future.”

Ms. Winnie Liu, President and Chief Commercial Officer of CALC offered comment on the delivery. “CALC is honored to contribute to SAA’s fleet growth through the lease of these young A320CEO aircraft.”

“We extend our warmest congratulations on SAA’s 90th anniversary. We look forward to strengthening our relationship while exploring opportunities to provide solutions to more African airlines in the years to come.”

Building on its success in 2023, the Group boasts a strong portfolio. Last year, CALC successfully repossessed and redelivered nine aircraft to leading international airlines.

As of March 31, 2024, CALC owns 171 aircraft, manages 27, and has a significant backlog of 135 aircraft on order.

The tails of three South African Airways aircraft.
Alex Beltyukov – RuSpotters Team, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

South African Airways: Taking to the Skies for 90 Years

South African Airways (SAA) is the national flag carrier of South Africa. It boasts a rich history that stretches back to 1934.

The airline operates from its hub located at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. SAA operates a network of routes throughout Africa, connecting passengers to key destinations on the continent.

Internationally, SAA has also played a vital role in connecting South Africa to the world, fostering trade, tourism, and cultural exchange.

The Return to Profitability

Throughout its 90 years, the airline has grown and adapted, facing challenges and celebrating triumphs.

Last month, the airline advertised five interim executive management positions, including that of the Chief Executive Officer. Over the past three years SAA has been led by an interim executive management team.

The Board has deemed it necessary to have a properly constituted and permanent executive team. The aim of the permanency move is to pilot the airline’s strategic plan into the future.

Derek Hanekom, Chairperson of the Interim Board of Directors explained the move in a statement in April.

“The filling of these posts is a positive and decisive step aimed at providing organizational stability. It provides predictable direction of the growth plans and expansion plans currently being pursued.”

The national airline continues on its path to a return to profitability, and the fleet renewal program forms part of that overarching plan.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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