- Uganda Airlines welcomed a second new Airbus aircraft with a water salute today.
- The cargo hull was full of fortunes in the form of neo-natal intensive care units donated by UNICEF.
- Prime Minister sees this delivery as a boost to travel and tourism.
Uganda Airlines took delivery today, February 2, 2021, of its second A330-800neo completing the national carrier’s order of two A330s from manufacturer Airbus after a delay originally slated for January owing to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in France.
According to Roger Wamara, Commercial Director, this time around, delivery came with double fortunes as the aircraft cargo hull was laden with 5 tons of neo-natal intensive care units from Toulouse donated to UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Fund) with a partnership between Uganda Airlines and Airbus.
Piloted by Chief Pilot Captain Mike Etyang, the aircraft, christened Mt. Rwenzori after Uganda’s highest mountain, was received with a water salute at Entebbe International Airport by the Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda; Finance and Economic Development Minister Matiya Kasaija; Works and Transport Minister Gen. Katumba Wamala; and a team of technocrats at approximately 10:00 am.
“This is a boost to tourism and travel business and [an] investment in the country. Let us promote, patronize, and grow our economy. This will contribute significantly in transforming Uganda from a predominantly peasant to a modern and prosperous country as per aspirations of Vision 2040,” said the PM.
Minister General Wamala added that the airline is 100 percent owned by Government of Uganda with the Ministry of Works and Transport and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development as the two main shareholders holding 50 percent each.
The Airline Managing Director, Cornwell Muleya, said that the airline is soon moving forward to add other destinations including Harare, Kigali, Addis Ababa, and with the new A330s onward to the Middle East.
Further commenting on strategy when asked by eTN, Commercial Director Wamara said that the airline opted for a “hub and spoke distribution paradigm,” further explaining that it is a form of transport topology optimization in which traffic planners organize routes as a series that connect outlying points to a central hub. That is how the airline is working with other airlines to feed the CRJ 900 regional aircrafts to further destinations and with the domestic private carriers such as Aerolink, Eagle Air Kampala Executive Aviation, and Aero Club, etc. to upcountry towns and national parks.
A statement from the airline reads: “The successful delivery is an affirmation of Uganda Airlines’ ambition to start long-haul operations, and this new wide-body pair will serve the carrier’s international network expansion from its hub of East Africa to intercontinental destinations in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
The delivery completes the first phase of the build-up of the airline since its revival on August 28, 2019, with four Bombardier CRJ900 and two A330-800neo bringing the total to six. After Kuwait, Uganda is the only other country that has ordered the A330-800 series, and Airbus is, therefore, keen to see the airline’s success.