Boeing will produce eight Next-Generation 737-800 jets for Comair Limited, an airline based in Johannesburg that flies domestic routes across South Africa. Comair intends for the new 737s to update the fleet of its low-fare airline, kulula.com.
The Boeing 737NG is a commercial passenger jet that seats 162 passengers in a two-class arrangement or 189 passengers in a single-class layout. The jet builder said the eight planes have a contract value of $646 million at current list prices. The contract should not be considered new business for Boeing, as it previously listed the order on its total orders/deliveries report but attributed it to an unidentified customer.
Boeing also emphasizes that the Next-Generation 737s now in service are 5 percent more fuel-efficient than the first Next-Generation 737s delivered in 1998. It is forecasting further fuel-efficiency improvements to come soon, thanks to Boeing's performance improvement package.
The jets in this order will feature the new Boeing Sky Interior, a design package that involves new stowage bins, sidewalls, lighting, ceiling panels, air vents, passenger service units, and a new flight attendant panel. It’s meant to present passengers with a more open cabin with more room for carry-on bags and LED lighting that is brighter as well as more atmospheric. Boeing adds that the new lights last longer and are more energy efficient than the previous lighting design.
"The purchase of new Boeing 737-800s is historic for our company and gives all our 1,800 staff a great feeling of pride," according to Gidon Novick, joint CEO of Comair Ltd. "The new fleet is an essential part of our efficiency drive, which will not only give us a cost leadership position in our industry, but also provide our customers with exceptional levels of reliability and comfort with the spacious new interior."
In addition to its 737-800 order, Comair ordered Boeing Commercial Aviation Services’ Maintenance Performance Toolbox. Boeing explains that the Toolbox integrates manufacturer and customer documentation, using intelligent graphics and cross-document searching, to link aircraft fault data to specific maintenance actions. It also provides a comprehensive structural repair history for each airplane.
Comair launched kulula.com in 2001 as South Africa's first low-fare carrier. It operates an all-Boeing fleet of ten 737s, including three leased 737-800s. With nearly 800 weekly flights, Comair also operates as a franchise partner of British Airways, with thirteen 737 airplanes flying domestically in South Africa and regionally in Southern Africa.
"Comair is an amazing success story, as this airline company has posted operating profits each year since it was founded in 1946," said Marlin Dailey, v.p. - Sales and Marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Today's order demonstrates the value the 737-800 has already brought to its fleet and the confidence Comair has in this airplane."