20 March 2014
South Africa’s Comair announced on Wednesday that it has placed an order for eight Boeing 737 MAX 8s, valued at US$830-million (approximately R9-billion), becoming the first African airline to order the aircraft.
“We’re proud to be the first African operator to announce an order for the 737 MAX,” Comair CEO Erik Venter said in a joint statement with Boeing. “This investment in Comair’s fleet upgrade is fundamental to its business strategy of consistently improving customer service and value while ensuring a sustainable airline.”
Johannesburg-based Comair operates Africa’s first low-cost carrier, kulula.com, offering flights to South Africa’s major cities. Comair is also the franchise partner of British Airways, operating its local and regional southern African routes.
The company currently flies an all-Boeing fleet of 25 Classic and Next-Generation 737s on its kulula.com and British Airways (operated by Comair) brands.
With Wednesday’s announcement, Comair now has a total of 12 airplanes on order from Boeing, including the eight 737 MAX 8s and four Next-Generation 737-800s for delivery in 2015 and 2016.
According to Boeing, the 737 MAX incorporates the latest engine technology as well as aerodynamic improvements “to deliver a 14 percent fuel-efficiency improvement over today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplanes. Airlines operating the 737 MAX will see an 8 percent operating cost per seat advantage over tomorrow’s competition”.