One of the SAA planes now up for sale at the Dulles International Airport in 2009. (Photo by Aero Icarus via Flickr)
  • SAA, now under business rescue, has put nine of its planes up for sale, including some currently being used on popular long-haul flights.
  • Those who want to buy the Airbus A340-300 and A340-600 planes have until the end of January to get involved in the sale.
  • In total the planes would cost around R37 billion new, not counting the spare engines also on sale.
  • All but one of the planes are reportedly in use, flying to Frankfurt, New York, Hong Kong, Munich, and Perth.
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SAA, now under business rescue, has put billions of rands of planes up for sale – even though most are in regular use for flights to major destinations around the world.

In a request for proposal, SAA is soliciting bids for nine of its Airbus A340 aircraft, which it describes as offering "the most quiet and most comfortable cabins in the sky". 

Four of the planes are of the A340-600 variant, which first came into service in 2001 and carry 317 passengers as configured by SAA. The other five are A340-300s, first flown commercially in 1993, and with a carrying capacity of 251 people.

See also – SAA in business rescue: What it means and its odds for survival

The sale package also includes 15 spare engines and four auxiliary power units, high-value spare parts.

In total the planes would come to around R37 billion if bought new today. Second-hand prices are highly dependent on hours flown and a wide range of other factors, including the state of the global economy at the time of sale.

All but one of the planes appear to be in use, according to a check of flight records by SimplyFlying.

Three of the A340-600s are used on the route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The other is used to fly to Frankfurt.

One of the A340-300s appears not to be in service at the moment. Ot the other three, one has been spotted serving the Johannesburg-to-Cape-Town route, one flying to Munich, and one to Perth.

Bidders have until 30 January to submit their proposals to buy the planes.

SAA entered business rescue in December in what public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan described as "the optimal mechanism to restore confidence in SAA and to safeguard the good assets of SAA and help to restructure and reposition the entity into one that is stronger, more sustainable and able to grow and attract an equity partner."

Business rescue practitioner Les Matuson is expected to cut some of the airline's routes as part of its restructuring.

These are the planes for sale.


  • ZS-SNC
  • ZS-SND
  • ZS-SNF
  • ZS-SNG


  • ZS-SXD
  • ZS-SXE
  • ZS-SXF
  • ZS-SXG
  • ZS-SXH

* Update: this article has been corrected to reflect that one of the planes due to be sold is used to fly between Johannesburg and Cape Town – and not between Johannesburg and Pretoria, as reported earlier, rather improbably. Business Insider apologises for the error.

See also: If SAA goes bust, politicians won't lose their free flight tickets - here's why

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