Boeing has delivered the first 737 MAX 8 to Comair Limited, which becomes the first airline in sub-Sahara Africa to operate the fuel-efficient jet.
The airplane is the first of eight 737 MAX airplanes on order for Comair with next arriving in March and the last one due for delivery in 2022.
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.
The British Airways operated by Comair 737 MAX 8 will have two classes and 174 seats.
Comair is the first airline in Southern Africa to acquire the 737 MAX 8 and the new aircraft will replace its remaining Boeing 737-400s.
The 737 MAX 8 will allow Comair to achieve 14 percent better fuel efficiency and lower emissions, while flying 600 nautical miles farther than its predecessor.
The new airplane enters a growing African aviation market, where the domiciled fleet has almost doubled in the past two decades. And over the next two decades, Africa will require nearly 1,200 new jets, according to Boeing’s Commercial Market Outlook. Boeing airplanes represent nearly 70 percent of the continent’s in-service fleet.
The MAX’s improved performance is enabled by advanced CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, and other airframe enhancements. Outfitted with the popular Boeing Sky Interior, the MAX 8 can seat 189 passengers in a single-class configuration.
The 737 MAX family is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating over 5,000 orders from more than 100 customers worldwide.
Wrenelle Stander, Executive Director, Comair’s Airline Division:
“The arrival of the MAX 8 aircraft is a continuation of our fleet renewal programme and builds on the most modern and efficient fleet in South Africa.
“It is the first of these aircraft to operate in Southern Africa. These newer aircraft, which showcase state-of-the-art technology, will improve our customer experience, enable us to hedge against fuel price volatility and enhance our operating efficiency.”
Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Commercial Sales & Marketing, The Boeing Company:
“We are delighted to welcome Comair to our growing MAX family. The airline will be able to significantly lower its operating costs, fly farther and provide their customers with a better flying experience.
“From the Classic 737 to the Next-Generation 737 and now to the 737 MAX, we are honored to build on our partnership with Comair and support their success in the years ahead.”
Managed and owned by South Africans through its listing on the JSE, Comair has been in operation since 1946 and comprises four business units including its airline division. Comair offers scheduled and non-scheduled airline services within South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, as its main business. The Group operates under its low-fare airline brand, kulula.com, as well as under the British Airways livery, as part of a license agreement. Other business units cover tourism and hospitality, aviation training and aviation IT solutions.
N.B. Image credit: Boeing