Uganda Airlines received two brand new Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft ‒ the first ones in the fleet. The carrier is preparing for a takeoff in July 2019 and vows are made not to repeat the mistakes of its predecessor.
The two Bombardier CRJ900s come in a dual-class configuration with 76 seats, including 12 first class seats, Bombardier outlined earlier in April 2019. They are the first two of four CRJ900 aircraft ordered by Uganda National Airlines Company in July 2018, according to manufacturer.
“[…] The two new planes had been paid cash by the Government of Uganda worth $28 million per plane,” a statement by the country’s media centre (UMC) outlines. In total, Uganda’s government “has committed to procuring 6 Bombardier planes”, with the following two CRJ900s expected in July and September 2019.
In addition to CRJ900s, Uganda Airlines is to also operate Airbus A330-800s. The carrier initially placed its order for two widebodies in July 2018 and firmed it in April 2019. “Uganda Airlines plans to use the A330-800 to build its medium- and long-haul network,” Airbus explained at the time in a statement. The widebodies are going to fly international routes and deliveries are expected early next year, according to UMC.
During the CRJ900s delivery ceremony at Entebbe International Airport on April 23, 2019, the country’s President Yoweri Museveni has “assured the people of Uganda that the new Uganda Airline will be a successful undertaking because of the big Ugandan diaspora, the very many Uganda business people that travel and the many tourists coming to visit the country,” according to the statement.
“When you are mingling millet, you must wait for the right temperature of the water to put in flour. If too early, it will be spoilt and if too late, it will be spoilt. The old Ugandan Airline died and in Africa when you die you are buried. But when old people die, new ones are born; so this is the new baby. I was among the undertakers of the funeral of the old airlines. Here I am among the midwifery delivering the new baby,” Museveni said.
Uganda Airlines was the national carrier of the landlocked East African country, with the hub in Entebbe International Airport. It began operations in 1977 and was liquidated in 2001.
The decision to revive the national carrier became known in 2016. “The government has decided to start a national airline to stop the outflow of the money and to end travel inconveniences to Ugandans”, Uganda’s President Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni was quoted explaining in October 2016. At the time, it was estimated that ugandans spend as much as $420 million on travel per year.
As for the “new baby”, the airline is currently in the certification process and will be able to commence operations once it is done, Chairman of the Uganda Board of Airlines, Captain Gad Gastura was quoted explaining by UMC.