The first two planes purchased by the carrier arrived on Tuesday
Having ceased operation in 2001, Uganda Airlines will most likely soon return to the skies. Yesterday, Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni received two Bombardier CRJ900 jet airliners from Canada. The arrival of the aircraft at the country’s Entebbe International airport marks the comeback of the carrier.
“We are very happy that what we started months back to restart the national carrier has begun bearing fruit,” said works and transport minister Monica Azuba Ntege at the ceremony.
A New Dawn. pic.twitter.com/A3GKsBr7co
— Uganda Airlines (@UG_Airlines) April 23, 2019
The first commercial flights should begin in July this year once it passes a 90-day certification process. The first flights will fly to regional neighbours in eastern and southern Africa before expanding into Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
“The 90 days will include demonstration to the [Ugandan] civil aviation authority that we have the proper airline premises, trained staff, maintenance provision, equipment to run an airline, and systems for the safe and secure operation of an international airline,” said the carrier’s CEO Ephraim Bagenda.
Authorities hope the scheduled revival of the airline will help boost the country’s economy and tourism.
President Museveni said the domestic airline would eat up about $400m that Ugandans spend on international travel every year.
“By starting an airline we are going to reduce on the foreign exchange expenditure. Ugandans will be spending money but spending it on our airline,” he said.
Uganda Airlines will be the first in Africa to operate the new CRJ-series
The carrier will become the first to operate the new CRJ-series atmosphere cabin in Africa.
The specially equipped cabin of the CRJ900 plane allows passengers to store an oversized roller bag within the aircraft cabin bins. This will minimise the need to check in baggage at the airport.
The key features of the new series include larger passenger living space, wheel-first roller bag capability, more spacious bathroom, and increased cabin connectivity options.
The plane has a capacity of 90 passengers. It will fly in dual-class configuration with 76 economy class seats and 12 first class seats.
Uganda paid over $74m for the first two planes.
The initial plan is to acquire six airliners. The carrier has purchased two more Bombardier jets which will arrive in July and September. In 2020 and 2021, the airline will receive another two long-haul planes from Airbus.