Uganda Airlines has resumed its Entebbe to Dubai frequency after the United Arab Emirates lifted its travel ban on direct passenger services into Uganda.
With its rare fleet of Airbus A330-800neo aircraft, the Entebbe-based airline restarted its services to Dubai on January 8, 2022, operating four weekly flights to the UAE.
Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism took to Twitter to announce the aircraft’s return to the skies.
She’s back in the skies! 8th January 2022, @UG_Airlines resumed it’s flights to Dubai after the ban lifting on direct passenger services into the United Arab Emirates. Fly the beautiful Crane- #visituganda @mugarra #stunninguganda pic.twitter.com/AivpXaZqJa— Ministry of Tourism-Uganda (@MTWAUganda) January 9, 2022
Passengers travelling to Dubai will now be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test, displaying a valid QR code no more than 48 hours before departure. In addition, passengers will be required to take a valid rapid PCR test at Entebbe International Airport no more than six hours prior to departure.
According to the Airline’s interim CEO Jennifer Bamuturaki, the airline experienced lucrative capacity levels after starting operations on the route late last year. However, this was halted following travel bans imposed by the UAE on December 28, 2021, to control the surge in Omicron cases.
“Business was affected by the ban. We were making 60,000 to 70,000 US Dollars per flight before the ban,” said Bamuturaki according to reports by Airspace Africa.
Despite suspending its passenger operations to the UAE on December 29, 2021, the carrier continued to operate cargo services on the route. This bolstered its cargo presence in the market, supported by the A330‘s 37-tonne cargo capacity, according to the Airline’s CEO.
According to reports by The EastAfrican, Bamuturaki said: “It has made us intensify our need to streamline our cargo operations. So that has helped the cargo department to be known in the market. Now the market knows that Uganda Airlines has a cargo flight, these are the prices, and these are times. It has given us a chance to be known.”
The airline’s cargo operations initially brought in $13,000 a week before increasing to $30,000 – $45,000 dollars. Reports reveal that the airline aims to bring in $70,000 to $100,000 via its cargo operations.
Entebbe to Dubai is Uganda Airlines’ first international and intercontinental route following the flag carrier’s government-backed relaunch in 2018. The carrier first operated its A330neo fleet, registered 5X-NIL, on October 4, 2021, from Entebbe International Airport to Dubai International Airport on flight UR 466. The aircraft went on to appear at the Dubai Airshow.
Our Airbus is already at Al Maktoum Airport Dubai for the #DubaiAirshow . @UG_Airlines was chosen to be among the exhibitors and this is an opportunity that will enable our Airlines to boost its clientele. pic.twitter.com/CwpaTX0tBK— Government of Uganda (@GovUganda) November 14, 2021
Today, Uganda Airlines is one of four A330-800neo operators in the world. The list of airlines who have ordered the A330neo consist of Air Greenland, Garuda Indonesia, and Kuwait Airways.
Ordered in July 2019, Uganda Airlines operates a fleet of two A330neos, which it took delivery of in December 2020 and February 2021.
The airline’s A330neo fleet is configured with 20 full-flat, business-class beds, 28 premium-economy seats and 210 economy-class seats, totaling 258 seats per aircraft, according to plane manufacturer, Airbus. Additionally, each aircraft holds a 37-tonne belly cargo capacity, and its long-haul capabilities are backed by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.
With ambitions to expand its operations, Uganda Airlines plans to deploy its A330 fleet on flights to London, Mumbai, and Guangzhou.
The carrier also operates a fleet of four CRJ-900s on its intra-African route networks. This includes regional destinations such as Mombasa, Johannesburg, Zanzibar, and Kinshasa.