Windhoek, 18 September: Air Namibia is proud to inform its clients that the much anticipated entry of the two brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft into our fleet later this year will be major upgrade of our long haul inflight product.
The A330-200 offers a much improved inflight product compared to the current Airbus A340 which will leave Air Namibia’s fleet at end of 2013.
The A330-200 offers an improved overall appearance of the cabin interior, with a more spacious impression of the cabin, more headroom and shoulder clearance for window seats, as well as more headroom underneath the bins, with an improved illumination. An enhanced and spacious cabin is designed around the passenger’s well-being, while the low noise and emissions levels make flying greener and quieter.
“Across the entire cabin, both in business and in economy class, the A330-200 offers individual personal video screens for each seat, with ‘video on demand’. The video and audio on-demand concept means that the user has ability to pause, rewind, fast forward, or skip to any point in the movie,” says Paulus Homateni Nakawa Air Namibia Head of Corporate Communications.
In short, while on board, our passengers will be able to work, eat, play, relax and sleep.
The A330 aircraft will come with 30 business class seats, and no “premium economy” class section. The soon to be phased out A340 offers recliner seats in business class, while the A330 offers full flat beds at 180 degrees and completely horizontal when reclined. Recliner seats do not offer the significant recline of the flat bed seats. The flat bed seats always receive high accolades for being comfortable both as seats and beds.
The A330 business class seats are Contour Aura Lite, which seats are designed and engineered to perform for the airline and passenger through its modular design. The Unique S-shaped outer arms yield significant space (11% more along its entire length from seat to bed) allowing for a larger centre console that houses a fully adjustable single-slab table. This seat offers a stylish, flexible approach to premium aircraft seating that provides exceptional space and facilities.
The business class seat on our A330 comes with the following features;
• IFE screen in back of seat in front, with both video and audio on demand
• Rising armrests that form individual privacy screens, when a passenger needs privacy
• Water bottle and general stowage
• Shoe stowage and literature pocket
• PC power, headphone port
• In-seat reading light (Fully adjustable to direct the light where you need it)
On the A340 the reading light is located in the passenger service unit, underneath the overhead stowage compartment, whereas on the A330 the reading light is located centre console.
The A330-200 comes with 214 economy class seats compared to 234 on the A340. The seat pitch is an average 31 inches, which is standard in the region and offers sufficient legroom (same as in A340). With 8 abreast in the economy class, the 18 inch seat width, the A330 offers the preferred comfort standard.
The A340 video screens are retractable from the center passenger service unit and against the bulkhead, it has no individual screens.
The A330 comes with temperature control in the cargo compartments, which enables Air Namibia to carry different types of cargo including frozen products like fish. Other products we are able to transport as cargo include flowers, live animals, fruit, appliances, vehicles, to mention a few.
Namibia exports meat and fish products, as well as other perishable goods like flowers, to the European market.
Currently, Air Namibia’s average cargo load on the Windhoek-Frankfurt route is 10 tonnes, the A330 offers a 14-tonne cargo capacity as opposed to the 16 tonnes of the A340 which is way above the current average cargo load.
Air Namibia is due to take delivery of the first of the two brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft next week. The second A330-200 is expected to enter the national air carrier’s fleet in November 2013. The two aircraft are being leased from Intrepid Aviation for a period of 12 years.
“The A330 is the market leader with over 1,000 A330s delivered to over 100 operators worldwide. This is a popular aircraft used by a wide number of airlines, from the South to the North, east to the West, Large and Small airlines. Today, there is an Airbus A330 aircraft taking off or landing every 50 seconds,” Nakawa says.
THE COMPETITIVE EGDE OF AIR NAMIBIA’S
BRAND NEW AIRBUS A330-200 AIRCRAFT
Entry into service of the brand new Airbus A330-200s, to replace the aged Airbus A340-300, will reduce costs and boost revenue, while providing flexibility, a superior and improved cabin product for Air Namibia.
The airline industry is highly competitive and is constantly exposed to many risks; among them fuel price volatility, a rigorous regulated environment and safety compliance aspects. Passenger travel preferences and buying decisions have evolved over time to such an extent that today’s traveller has become very informed and sophisticated. These factors have made fleet decisions become crucial for any airline that aspires to improve financial performance, operational efficiency and compliance with safety and other regulatory requirements.
“Air Namibia believes that the decision to acquire two brand new Airbus A330-200s to replace the aged Airbus A340-300s, which entered its fleet 7 years ago in year 2006, is a step in that direction. This decision fits well in efforts to continually strive to improve operational efficiency, aligning the services of the airline to the needs of the market, match and even exceed competitor offerings so as to compete effectively, and to achieving acceptable financial performance within the resources that are available to it and striving towards at all times.”
The delivery of the new aircraft represents the last phase of the airline’s re-fleeting programme contained in its business plan adopted in July, 2011. Earlier re-fleeting initiatives included phasing out of the Beechcraft B1900 aircraft and replacing them with Embraer ERJ 135 Regional Jets in 2011, as well as phasing out of the aged Boeing B737 fleet and replacing them with new Airbus A319-100s.
“The new Airbus A330-200s will break the long history of Air Namibia operating quad powered aircraft (four engines) with twin-powered aircraft on its long haul operations between Namibia and Europe. These planes come with improved operating technologies which offer way much better savings on operating costs,” says Nakawa.
“In a few weeks’ time, gone will be the days when Air Namibia was seen as an operator of old aircraft retired by other airlines, which placed us as an underdog in the market when compared to our much bigger and highly resourced competitors,” he adds.
Even though older aircraft might have lower lease rates, total operating costs are higher when one takes into account the effect of fuel burn, maintenance costs, dispatch reliability and lost revenue from passengers selecting a competitor airline due to its newer cabin and inflight entertainment plus other amenities. Fleet selection affects both revenue and cost.
Another important consideration which went into the selection of the Airbus A330-200 as opposed to other aircraft options available is the “right sized” cabin configuration element, in terms of the number of seats in relation to Air Namibia’s “demand forecasting” outcomes. The new planes come with 30 business class seats and 214 economy class seats, giving a total of 244 seats. The soon to be phased out Airbus A340-300s have 278 seats in total, comprising 32 Business and 246 Economy Class. The current average passenger load per year on the Windhoek-Frankfurt route is 220 passengers, meaning that full value of the cost per seat is not being realised as some seats go unoccupied.
Larger aircraft have limited flexibility in the event that Air Namibia would like to deploy its long-haul aircraft on new markets and medium-range routes. While larger aircraft have a lower cost per seat, all the seats must be occupied for this low cost benefit to be realised. The A330-200s are more flexible aircraft to use on new routes/markets, while also offering modern and mature aviation technology. Being brand new, the aircraft are also a big boost to Air Namibia brand image and passenger confidence. The A340-300s will be over 25 years old by the time their lease arrangement expires in October.
The Airbus A330-200 offers much lower operating cost compared to the A340-300, given its Lower Maximum Take Off Weight of 230,000 kg compared to 257,000 kg of the A340-300, meaning lower landing fees, navigation charges, lower fuel burn, etc. The A330 offers the lowest fuel burn and the lowest maintenance costs of all options – given its size and the fact that it comes with two engines to maintain instead of four engines, and two engines consuming fuel on the A330 compared to four engines consume fuel on the A340s.
Passenger rating of the two aircrafts published on the Airbus website shows that 67% favour the A330-200 compared to a 33% preference for the A340-300.
Air Namibia is due to take delivery of the first of the two brand new Airbus A330-200 aircraft before the end of September 2013. The second A330-200 is expected to enter the national air carrier’s fleet in November 2013. The two aircraft are being leased from Intrepid Aviation for a period of 12 years.
Paulus Homateni Nakawa
Head: Corporate Communications
Tel.: +264 61 299 6298/6216/6215