Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is representing USC, the Germany-based cargo operator. Our South Africa-based corporate/M&A team is advising this client as acquirer on the purchase of eight Airbus A340 aircraft (with engines), 15 spare engines and four APUs (Auxillary Power Units) from SAA Airways (SAA), South Africa's government-owned airline, which issued an RFP for their sale.
USC put in a successful bid to purchase the aircraft package and intends to use these aircraft, once converted, for cargo operations. Each of the aircraft needs to undergo substantial maintenance by SAA Technical (the AMO arm of SAA) to be brought up to airworthy standard. This involves a delivery schedule of two to three years. SAA and USC entered into one master agreement for the aircraft package, and will implement the separate deliveries in terms of separate aircraft purchase and maintenance agreements. The drafting and structuring was highly-complex, as USC and SAA required a simple agreement to cover the entire sale. This meant we could not use the usual aircraft purchase agreement market standard, which runs into 100s of pages. The master agreement also had to cover sale and maintenance issues in relation to each aircraft, which required a deep understanding of the technical side of the aviation business.