As SAA slowly makes its way out of its financial hole of the past decade, it will be flying in ever-more competitive global and African skies and alongside airlines that boast more efficient aircraft. Last month, Airbus launched the latest aircraft in its A350 XWB family, the A350-1000, with Qatar Airways taking delivery of the first plane. The aircraft, which seats 366, was 25% more efficient than the current version of Boeing's 777, the 777-300ER, Airbus said. The aircraft also had better fuel efficiency and lower CO emissions, it claimed. SAA's main competitor on the continent, Ethiopian Airlines, has ordered 18 Airbus A350-900 planes, the previous model. It currently operates six of these aircraft. The airline reportedly indicated last year that it was evaluating the A350-1000. Qatar Airways said it was considering upgrading some of its A350 orders to the newer model. In December last year, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) said in a report that stronger forecas...

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