By Frank Kamuntu
Kampala: The latests from Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) is that President Yoweri Museveni is on Tuesday scheduled to receive the first Airbus aircraft manufactured in France as one of the newest additions to the Uganda Airlines at a function organised at Entebbe international airport.
Airbus rolled off the assembly line of Uganda’s A330-800neo last month which has already taken to the skies for multiple testing before it can be handed to the East African country on Monday December 21, 2020.
The Airbus A330-800neo (New Engine Options) follows the purchase of four CRJ 900 jetliners also called Bombadiers in April and October respectively.
TheSpy Uganda has since learnt that a team of government officials, led by works minister Gen. Katumba Wamala left on Friday to Toulouse city in France to receive the new aircraft, which will be handed over on Monday.
Uganda’s nation carrier which launched operations in August of 2019 has been relying only on a fleet of just four Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft flying to nearby destinations including flights to Tanzania, Burundi and Kenya.
The A330-800neo aircraft could be lined up for long haul destinations especially to Dubai, Mumbai, Guangzhou and London. The first route to launch will be Entebbe (EBB) to London Heathrow (LHR), which will begin in early 2021. Mumbai will be added as the second.
According to the Uganda government, the carrier is scheduled to configure its new planes with three classes, including 20 business class, 28 premium economy and 213 economy class seats, for a total of 261.
Last month, Airbus delivered two aircrafts with similar specifications to Kuwait. The two planes with space for 235 passengers each were flown from Airbus’ production site in Toulouse, France, to Kuwait City.
Airbus has only 10 orders of the A330-800neo and among these, Uganda has so far made two whereas Kuwait Airways holds orders for the remaining eight aircraft, and hopes to enter them into service in the near future.
The A330-800neo variant joins a fleet of Airbus A320, A320neo, A330-200 and Boeing 777-300ER.
However, A330-800 is the smallest of the two A330neo versions on offer. It performed its first flight back in November 2018 and was certified by the EASA and FAA in February this year.