The first Boeing 707 jet aircraft arrives in South Africa


Boeing 707 jet

Friday, 15 July 1960

On 15 July 1960, the first Boeing 707 jet aircraft arrived in South Africa from America. This aircraft has remained in the service of the South African Air Force up until today. The aircraft were used for commercial as well as military purposes. This  aircraft  is no longer used to transport cargo or passengers, as more reliable and efficient aircraft such as the latest Airbus and Boeing variants have replaced it in that role. The remaining aircraft in service with the South African Air Force are used for airborne refuelling, electronic warfare, command and control and early warning. This aircraft replaced the ill-fated DeHavilland Comet and firmly cemented Boeing as the world's leading aircraft manufacturer. However as stricter sanctions were employed against South Africa during Apartheid, particularly with regard to the availability of spare parts and technology, many of these aircraft were covertly reconfigured for military purposes.

The 707 has served the South African Air Force with great distinction and displayed remarkable reliability and flexibility throughout its career.  The majority of these aircraft are however being phased out of service, as they have reached the end of their life-span and are set to be replaced with more modern aircraft.


  1. South African Airways (Online), available at: [Accessed 28 July 2010]
  2. South African Airways: A Brief History (Online), available at: [Accessed 28 July 2010]

Last updated : 05-Oct-2011

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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