Remarks by Mr Malusi Gigaba, Minister of Public Enterprises at the South African Airways (SAA) airbus delivery ceremony in Cape Town
8 Feb 2011
His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma
Deputy Minister, Ben Martins
Chairperson of the South African Airways (SAA) Board, Ms Cheryl Carolus
Director-general and other distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen
The Airbus A330 - 200 we have taken delivery of is the first of 6 Airbus A330-200 that SAA will acquire in this current financial year. It is the first twin powered aircraft to enter the fleet of SAA, breaking its history of operating quad powered aircraft on long haul operations.
Indeed, this underscores our firm resolve to embark on an extensive fleet replacement programme in order to enhance our national airline capability.
Between 2013 and 2015, we will take delivery of 20 A320 – 200 aircrafts which we will use for our domestic and regional hauls, which will further enhance SAA’s fleet capacity.
What this does, however, is only to replace rather than add on SAA’s existing fleet, something we still need to look at given our intention to participate competitively in the global and regional aviation market.
As government we believe that SAA should operate as a commercially viable entity, continually striving to improve operational efficiency, aligning its services to the needs of the market, achieving acceptable financial performance within the resources that are already available to it and striving at all times to fulfil the bold ambitions of the South African government.
As an emerging market with major global ambitions, a member of the G20 and the newest member of BRICS, it is vital that we enhance our capability to participate in and take advantage of global opportunities through, inter alia, running an efficient and successful airline with reliable and modern fleet that helps us to connect South Africa with the rest of the African continent, the South as well as with the world.
I believe that the Airbus A330 - 200 would accordingly be a catalyst in the realisation of an economical, efficient and popular airline, taking Africa to the world, and the world, to Africa.
The delivery of the new aircraft takes place at a time when the airline is rolling out its network expansion plan, offering its passengers more convenient connections to local, regional and international destinations.
The airline has plans in place to increase the frequency of flights to domestic and regional destinations, including exploring new routes. Last month, the airline announced the first set of changes which included the introduction of a non-stop flight from Johannesburg to New York.
Later, the airline will launch new regional destinations including the introduction of a flight to China. To support its routes expansion plans, SAA must therefore sweat its assets and ensure that all aircraft are optimally operated and that utilisation is maximised.
I am pleased that the aircraft being taken delivery of has the added benefit of having the commonality of cockpits, avionics, parts, crew training to the remaining A340 types of aircraft currently operated by SAA, in addition to offering substantial savings.
The new aircraft and In Flight Entertainment (IFE) systems would further enhance SAA’s ability to attract high yield passengers in the market, which would provide additional revenue in addition to the abovementioned cost savings. I am looking forward to experiencing the new product offering on the aircraft as we fly to Cape Town.
The A330 is flown by around 90 operators in over 50 countries, with 700-plus aircraft in service today. This global inventory operates through some 300 airports, logging in excess of 15 million flight hours and 3.6 million flight cycles.
As one of the most widely-used wide-body aircraft in operation today, the A330’s order book has surpassed the milestone of 1,100 firm orders.
The A330 provides exceptional operational flexibility at lower cost, with right-sized cabins for passenger and freight.
In conclusion, I would like to highlight the need for further investment into both avionics and aviation manufacturing in South Africa. This is linked to the need to develop technical expertise and skills and ensure that the progress made in the local industrialisation of Denel and Aerosud is ensured.
It is also encouraged that the airline as a State-owned enterprise along with the Department of Trade and Industry, should promote the objectives of the National Industry Participation Progamme to derive benefits for the South African Economy.
The teams at SAA, Airbus and the Department of Public Enterprises, should all be commended for the hard work and the conclusion of negotiations that led to such an occasion.
With these few words, it is now my privilege to invite His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma, to address us and officially, on behalf of all South Africans, take delivery of the first A320 – 200 aircraft.
I hope soon to see the President on this aircraft travelling between Cape Town and Johannesburg, interacting with ordinary South Africans, proudly sharing the amazing experience of its comfort.
Source: Department of Public Enterprises
Issued by: Department of Public Enterprises
8 Feb 2011
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