Pretoria - Aviation in Africa is expanding at an increasing rate and the competition between carriers is increasing swiftly. This comes at a time when aviation is struggling with load factors and high oil prices.
American aircraft manufacturer Boeing has delivered the first of a fleet of new 777-300ER planes to Angola's national airline, TAAG Linhas Aereas de Angola. This is the first Boeing 777-300ER plane to be bought, owned and operated by an African carrier.
TAAG chairperson Dr Antonio Araujo described the moment as a proud one for Angola.
"Today's delivery confirms TAAG's commitment to leadership and innovation in African aviation."
The delivery is the first of two new airplanes TAAG ordered in 2009.
The airline plans to use the planes for route expansion to destinations including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Lisbon and Oporto.
TAAG is also preparing its application to fly into the United States with its new 777-300ERs. Marlin Dailey, vice-president for marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said Boeing has had an ongoing relationship with the Angolan carrier the past 30 years.
Boeing says the aircraft is 19% lighter on fuel than its closest competitor in the class. "The Boeing 777-300ER is recognised by airlines and passengers alike as the No 1 choice for long-distance travel," said Araujo.
The plane also produces 22% less carbon dioxide per seat and costs 20% less to operate. TAAG plans to configure the new planes to carry 293 passengers in a three-class configuration.
The airline was founded in 1938 and is based in Luanda.