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South African Airways Signs MoU with SunExpress

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South African Airways

South African Airways (SAA) has announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SunExpress for four aircrafts to support the national carrier’s operations in the 2024/25 financial year. This MoU is an extension of the current six-month damp lease agreement between the two airlines, which includes the lease of two Boeing 737-800s, as well as maintenance and cockpit crew.

The damp lease agreement means that the lessor provides the aircraft and some of the crew, usually the cockpit crew, and the lessee provides the rest of the crew, maintenance and insurance. This shared responsibility and cost of the operation allows both parties to work together to meet demand and ensure efficient operations.

Acting SAA CEO, Professor John Lamola, expressed his optimism about the partnership, stating that SunExpress has been a reliable partner for the airline and that the additional aircraft will support SAA’s operations to meet the growing customer demand during peak seasons.

SunExpress CEO Max Kownatzki also expressed his commitment to deepening the partnership with SAA. He highlighted that the renewed intention to collaborate and expand the partnership reflects the trust that SAA has placed in SunExpress and the opportunities for future growth.

The partnership with SunExpress comes as SAA officially relaunched earlier this year after enduring challenges for several years. The airline had faced allegations of fraud and corruption during the State capture years and was put under business rescue and grounded.

At the official relaunch, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan emphasized the hard work that went into bringing SAA back to the skies. He also stressed that the airline must now operate on its own strength and capitalize on the support provided by strategic equity partners.

The agreement with SunExpress is a significant step forward for SAA as it seeks to rebuild and grow in the aviation industry. The expansion of the partnership to include additional aircraft and explore further cooperation in maintenance, training, and commercial support demonstrates a commitment to long-term success and sustainability.

The collaborative efforts between SAA and SunExpress will not only benefit both airlines but also contribute to the overall growth and development of the aviation sector in South Africa. As SunExpress looks to double its fleet over the next decade, the partnership with SAA will play a crucial role in maximizing fleet utilization and managing seasonality.



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