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Uganda Airlines secures prime landing slot at London Heathrow

Uganda airlines secures prime landing slot at London Heathrow
Uganda airlines secures prime landing slot at London Heathrow

Uganda Airlines’ targeted initial routes with the A330 are London, Dubai, Guangzhou and Mumbai

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  • The airline will be offering night departures on the outbound London leg while the return flights will depart Heathrow mid-morning
  • The carrier will soon launch services to Lusaka and Johannesburg
  • The slots are specific to the 2021 summer schedule that starts on March 28

Uganda Airlines will start intercontinental operations to Europe , Asia and the Middle East after completing the ongoing A320-800 Neo aircraft Certification process with the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda.

This is a five-phase program which, once complete, will result in the addition of the  aircraft to the Uganda Airlines Air Operator Certificate (AOC).

The airline remains determined, despite grossing  UGX 102billion (USD27.8 Million) in losses in the 2019/20 financial year, as it failed to implement its business plan in accordance with the planned timelines on account of the global lockdown implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The targeted initial routes with the A330 are London, Dubai, Guangzhou and Mumbai, with the airline operating direct flights to these city pairs from Entebbe International Airport, with five flights a week to London and six to Dubai, according to airline officials. The airline  will be offering night departures on the outbound London leg while the return flights will depart London’s Heathrow mid-morning. The carrier will soon launch services to Lusaka and Johannesburg, bringing the regional network to 11 destinations.

Roger Wamara the Director, Marketing however said that the number of flights will be determined during an ongoing review of business . He added that ‘We applied for those slots before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the market. We now have to look at the numbers again before deciding how we are going to operate’.

Meanwhile the process of obtaining traffic rights, foreign air operator permits and landing approvals in the target destinations is progressing well. So far the airline has successfully obtained landing slots at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in the United Kingdom and Dubai International Airport (DXB) in the United Arab Emirates.

The slots are specific to the 2021 summer schedule that starts on March 28, but Mr Wamara says the start dates are subject to when the UK lifts restrictions on non-essential travel, and the pace of certification of the airline’s A330-800 fleet by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority. The process involves five stages and Uganda Airlines is at the third stage.

According to Vianney Lugya, the manager for public relations at the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, the carrier needs to update its Air Operators Certificate to include the new aircraft because it was initially licensed when it only operated Mitsubishi CRJ’s.

“The aircraft are not yet certified by the regulator but we are hoping to have completed that process by the end of April. If the UK relaxes travel restrictions, we should be ready to launch London sometime in May,” Mr Wamara said.

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About the author

Tony Ofungi - eTN Uganda