South African Airways introduces A330-300 on Johannesburg – London route

South African Airways (SAA) has said that it will introduce the new A330-300 on the London route from March 2018, and will also adjust frequencies on the route to a single daily service.

As part of its network optimisation plan, effective from April 20, 2018, SAA will operate a single daily flight from Johannesburg to London Heathrow replacing the double daily service operating on the route currently.

‘We have decided to focus on those areas of our business that will enhance our efficiencies, bring more value to our customers and produce improved overall performance of the airline. Network optimisation is one such area that can contribute towards containing our costs and we introduced some initiatives that must yield dividends to return the business to commercial sustainability in the shortest time possible,’ said SAA CEO, Vuyani Jarana. ‘We have also decided to upgrade the service operating between Johannesburg and London Heathrow to the new Airbus A330-300 with effect from Sunday, 25 March 2018. This will afford customers a significantly improved on-board Business and Economy product, with state-of-the-art technology, increased comfort and capacity,’ added Jarana.

The new Airbus A330-300 offers the latest technology, are eco-friendly , quieter, equipped with advanced avionics and navigation systems, and have Rolls-Royce Trent engines, resulting in lower fuel burn and in turn, lower carbon emissions. SAA took delivery of five new A330-300 aircraft last year.

The A330-300s offer more Business Class seats than any aircraft in the SAA fleet currently. In total, the aircraft has capacity for 249 passengers, with 46 in Business Class and 203 in Economy Class. Seating in Business Class cabins is in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, offering all customers a forward facing, lie-flat seat, increased privacy and direct access to the aisle. SAA has also introduced an app where customers can download additional entertainment before their flight.

Seating in the Economy cabin will be in the 2-4-2 configuration. Economy Class on the A330-300 feature a 10.1′ high-resolution screen, individual USB charging ports, and access to shared PC power points.

Virgin to Offer Mobile Phone Calls In-Flight

Virgin Atlantic Airways, the UK-based airline operator, has become the first Britsh airline to provide access to mobile phone calls for passengers travelling on its new A330 aircraft, and has future plans to extend the service to its B747 aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic intends to have 20 aircraft fitted with the Aeromobile technology by the end of 2012, which will include B747’s that are currently undergoing AGBP50m refurbishment. Passengers in all cabins will be able to make and receive telephone calls, send and receive text messages and access e-mail and the Internet.

Customers choosing to use the service will be charged according to their individual provider’s international roaming rights, though this is currently restricted to 02 and Vodafone with whom the airline has signed agreements, so passengers on other networks will not be able to use the service initially.

Other usage restrictions include no connection while the airplane is taking-off and landing, and in order to comply with Federal restrictions, the service has to be disabled within 250 miles of US airspace.

The idea of passengers using mobile phones while sitting in adjacent seats will undoubtedly be a matter of trepidation for a proportion of travellers who expect rest and relaxation during lengthy flights. How Virgin Atlantic intend to deal with the possible nuisance aspect of in-flight phone calls is not yet known.

Uk-based airline, British Airways does already offer air mobile phone technology on flights to New York from London with its A318 Club World City, but phone calls are currently disabled and only e-mails and text messages can be sent and received.