Uganda Airlines To Commence Commercial Operations After 18 Year Hiatus

Uganda Airlines Bombardier CRJ900 Photo: Uganda Airlines

Uganda Airlines, the flag carrier of the African state of Uganda, is set to commence commercial operations in August 2019. This is after having received an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) on 29th July 2019.

However, Uganda Airlines is not entirely new to the scene. It was first established in 1976, but collapsed in 2001 due to a host of financial woes stemming from the gross mismanagement of the entity. In 2007, a private entity known as Air Uganda commenced operations, and was widely regarded as the country's de facto flag carrier. However, its AOC was suspended by the UCAA in June 2014 following safety concerns put forward by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This collapse catalysed a push by the Government of Uganda towards re-establishing Uganda Airlines.

The efforts came to fruition when in July 2018, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced that it had signed a firm order for four new CRJ900 regional jets with Uganda National Airlines Company, valued at approximately US$190 million. The aircraft, in a dual-class configuration and with 76 seats each, would also be the first on the African continent to be fitted with the new CRJ Series Atmosphère cabin. The cabin features larger overhead bins, full mood lighting, and a larger lavatory.

The first of the aircraft deliveries to Uganda Airlines were made in April 2019, when two CRJ900s landed at the airline's Entebbe International Airport hub amid pomp and fanfare, with the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni on site at the delivery event.

According to Uganda Airlines' Commercial Director, Jennifer Bamuturaki, the airline is in the process of getting its IATA code, after which it will commence flights in two phases. The first phase, to be serviced by the first two CRJ900 aircraft, will include destinations such as Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, Mogadishu, Kilimanjaro, Mombasa, Bujumbura, and Juba. The second phase, to be operated by the remaining two CRJ900 aircraft, will tentatively include destinations such as Kigali, Harare, Lusaka, Johannesburg and a number of others in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Additionally in April 2019, Airbus announced that the airline had firmed up an order for two A330-800neo airliners worth approximately US$586 million in an effort to build its medium and long-haul operations.

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