South African regional carrier Cemair has agreed a deal to acquire 16 Bombardier CRJ200s from US major Delta Air Lines to boost its operations within the country and on activities in other parts of Africa. The private business will become the largest owner of the 50-seat regional jets in Africa, although it confirms some units will be used solely for spares or parted out.
The Johannesburg-based carrier, already an operator of the type, will utilise three aircraft on its domestic routes from OR Tambo International Airport to Margate, Plettenberg Bay and Cape Town, while five others will be placed on contract perations outside the country. The company has operating and leasing experience throughout Africa and the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Tunisia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mali, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique as well as its scheduled activities in South Africa.
Cemair has been utilising three CRJs alongside its Beech 1900 turboprops and has been flying the type for around two years. The aircraft, which were previously operated by Delta’s now defunct subsidiary, Comair, will be returned to service over a period of around a year as the aircraft are brought to South Africa for registration, certification and repainting.
According to Cemair officials, the CRJ200 is proving popular with both African airline operators as well as larger resource companies with dedicated transport requirements. ”The capacity is well suited to many routes and the aircraft offers passengers a similar experience to that of larger airliners,” a company executive confirmed. The deal also includes a major package of aircraft engines and parts.