South African Express seeks 20 aircraft
South African Express (SA Express) is closing in on a lease deal for 20 aircraft for delivery over the next five years, as it seeks to upsize to 90-seat jets from its current fleet of 50- to 70-seaters.
“We are in the process of refleeting. We are trying to move away from smaller aircraft to bigger aircraft,” SA Express CEO Inati Ntshanga said, speaking to African Aerospace in November. “It is going well. We are in advanced discussions with lessors. We are in advanced talks with all of them.”
SA Express currently operates a fleet of 20 aircraft, comprising eight Bombardier CRJ200s, two CRJ700s and 10 Q400s.
“We want to have a common fleet by 2022,” Ntshanga said. “As the current leases expire, we will replace them with 90-seat aircraft.”
While SA Express is considering COMAC, the Mitsubishi MRJ90 and the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100), Ntshanga said the CRJ900 and Embraer E190 are contending the most. He would consider E190-E2s, but this would depend on timing.
“This is a huge acquisition, so we need approval. By the end of February, we should have signed and closed the deal,” he said.