Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

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Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by Joker11 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 10:07 pm

Hello everyone,

Seeing that SAA flew all Boeing 747 models (except the -8). Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300? That model seems to be an odd ball and given that the 400 model was also operated together with the 400.
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by MadMacs » Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:06 pm

The dash 300's were an improvement over the 200's and the 400' s only came out much later. The SP's were probably a waste.
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by Burner » Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:20 pm

MadMacs wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:06 pm
The dash 300's were an improvement over the 200's and the 400' s only came out much later. The SP's were probably a waste.
Interesting, SAA actually got two ex Swiss 747-300's in 2000, some 9 years after the first 747-400 arrived at SAA, and two years after the last 400 was delivered.
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by evanb » Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:20 am

SAA first B747-300 was delivered new in May 1983. The first B747-400 was delivered to Northwestern in January 1989, but SAA's first B747-400 was delivered in January 1991.

So the B747-300 was available a lot earlier, but as Burner already said, it was a big improvement over the B747-200B, mostly in terms of size because of the longer upper deck. It had the same flight deck and engines as he -200B, so it was a shared fleet type (unlike the B747-400).

SAA had a total of 6 B747-300:
MSN 22970 Delivered new 2 May 1983, operated until 18 Dec 2003
MSN 22971 Delivered new 14 Apr 1983, operated until 22 Jun 2005 (spent time leased to Air Namibia and TAAG)
MSN 23031 Acquired from SQ on 9 Jun 1995, operated until unknown
MSN 23027 Acquired from SQ on 12 Jan 1996, operated until 1 May 2004
MSN 22995 Acquired from SR on 30 Sep 2000, operated until 10 Sep 2003
MSN 22996 Acquired from SR on 27 Sep 2000, operated until 10 Dec 2003

The first two were delivered before the -400s, but the following four after. SAA were expanding rapidly at the time and needed frames quickly. The -400 order book was long by that time.
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by Trailblazer » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:27 am

If memory serves correctly, the -300's were delivered with the JT9D-7R4G2 engines. I think the -200's were still operating on the -7F, and on most long-haul sectors used water injection for improved take-off performance. The -300's didn't use water...

Max tanks remained at 163500kgs, max T/Off weight was upped from 369200 to 377800 on the 300's, can't remember the max ZFW for -200 but -300 was 238800; and restricted to 212700 to enable it to do the non-stop JNB-LHR flights.

I think the SP-s were purchased to enable non-stop round-the-bulge flights into Europe (Frankfurt, Paris and one or two others I can't recall), because of the improved fuel burn comapred to the Super B's.

NOTE: As mentioned above, memory is a bit fuzzy these days :( :) and my facts / fugures could be wrong
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by Joker11 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:41 pm

evanb wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:20 am
The first two were delivered before the -400s, but the following four after. SAA were expanding rapidly at the time and needed frames quickly. The -400 order book was long by that time.
That thought actually crossed my mind. That is was about the availability of planes for rapid growth.
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by evanb » Sun Apr 21, 2019 2:18 pm

Joker11 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:41 pm
That thought actually crossed my mind. That is was about the availability of planes for rapid growth.
And probably cheaper ...
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by FoxTROT » Sun Apr 21, 2019 2:32 pm

Trailblazer wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:27 am
If memory serves correctly, the -300's were delivered with the JT9D-7R4G2 engines.
You are indeed correct. The five -200B's later got refitted with these engines too if I'm not mistaken.
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by MadMacs » Sun Apr 21, 2019 2:42 pm

Trailblazer wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:27 am
If memory serves correctly, the -300's were delivered with the JT9D-7R4G2 engines. I think the -200's were still operating on the -7F, and on most long-haul sectors used water injection for improved take-off performance. The -300's didn't use water...

Max tanks remained at 163500kgs, max T/Off weight was upped from 369200 to 377800 on the 300's, can't remember the max ZFW for -200 but -300 was 238800; and restricted to 212700 to enable it to do the non-stop JNB-LHR flights.

I think the SP-s were purchased to enable non-stop round-the-bulge flights into Europe (Frankfurt, Paris and one or two others I can't recall), because of the improved fuel burn comapred to the Super B's.

NOTE: As mentioned above, memory is a bit fuzzy these days :( :) and my facts / fugures could be wrong


Yes the -7r4g2's made a big difference, especially fuel economy wise and made the SP's obsolete. We had problems though with those engines, they kept throwing fan blades, which was eventually attributed to the airflow pattern due to the extended upper deck.

No, affaik the 200's never upgraded to that engine.
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by Trailblazer » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:09 am

FoxTROT wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 2:32 pm
Trailblazer wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:27 am
If memory serves correctly, the -300's were delivered with the JT9D-7R4G2 engines.
You are indeed correct. The five -200B's later got refitted with these engines too if I'm not mistaken.
You're not mistaken... they were retrofitted, and it made our lives as dispatchers a good bit easier :)
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by Trailblazer » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:16 am

MadMacs wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 2:42 pm

SNIP...

Yes the -7r4g2's made a big difference, especially fuel economy wise and made the SP's obsolete. We had problems though with those engines, they kept throwing fan blades, which was eventually attributed to the airflow pattern due to the extended upper deck.

No, affaik the 200's never upgraded to that engine.
I remember those blades being thrown. I also recall a flight out of Zurich where #3 dumped a blade and some of the uncontained "spares" took #4 with it. Happened shortly after rotate I think. This would have been a -200.

We referred to these engines as GT's, because of the extra performance they ofered us
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by MadMacs » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:51 am

Trailblazer wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:16 am
MadMacs wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 2:42 pm

SNIP...

Yes the -7r4g2's made a big difference, especially fuel economy wise and made the SP's obsolete. We had problems though with those engines, they kept throwing fan blades, which was eventually attributed to the airflow pattern due to the extended upper deck.

No, affaik the 200's never upgraded to that engine.
I remember those blades being thrown. I also recall a flight out of Zurich where #3 dumped a blade and some of the uncontained "spares" took #4 with it. Happened shortly after rotate I think. This would have been a -200.

We referred to these engines as GT's, because of the extra performance they ofered us
Yes, apparently they were retrofitted with the new engines during the big bin mods. I had moved to Departures so must have missed this phase.

The incident you mentioned happened to an old -200 that threw a turbine that damaged #4 eng as well as denting the fuselage.
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by Domkop » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:23 am

The end of the B747-300 meant an end to the Flight Engineer; the -400 was 2 man crew.

Much has been said and can still be said about the loss of the Flight Engineer. I have good memories, fortunately.
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Re: Why did SAA order the Boeing B747-300?

Unread post by Ned Yakman » Sun May 12, 2019 10:23 pm

Trailblazer wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:27 am
If memory serves correctly, the -300's were delivered with the JT9D-7R4G2 engines. I think the -200's were still operating on the -7F, and on most long-haul sectors used water injection for improved take-off performance. The -300's didn't use water...

Max tanks remained at 163500kgs, max T/Off weight was upped from 369200 to 377800 on the 300's, can't remember the max ZFW for -200 but -300 was 238800; and restricted to 212700 to enable it to do the non-stop JNB-LHR flights.

I think the SP-s were purchased to enable non-stop round-the-bulge flights into Europe (Frankfurt, Paris and one or two others I can't recall), because of the improved fuel burn comapred to the Super B's.

NOTE: As mentioned above, memory is a bit fuzzy these days :( :) and my facts / fugures could be wrong
As far as I remember, the SPs augmented the -200Bs, but were also used to open up new trans-oceanic routes for SAA, eg. Jo'burg-Houston.
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