The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has granted landing rights to Uganda Airlines at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN), which would be the first direct flight from Uganda to China since the pandemic.
Uganda Airlines took to Twitter to announce it has secured landing slots at Guangzhou Airport, located in the Chinese Province of Guangdong in Southern China.
Ni Hao #Guangzhou! A toast to yet another great milestone! Uganda Airlines has been granted landing rights to China! Cheers to a new world of greater connectivity! #Uganda Airlines pic.twitter.com/UT3nO2w3XK— Uganda Airlines (@UG_Airlines) June 18, 2022
The CAAC addressed a letter to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCCA), accepting the resumption of scheduled passenger flights between China and Uganda, according to a report published by local media firm, UBC.
The UBC report also stated that Uganda was granted permission to operate up to one weekly flight to any point in China except Beijing and Shanghai.
The Entebbe-based flag carrier will operate services to China with its fleet of Airbus A330 Neos, according to a tweet from the Government of Uganda.
In a report published by the Monitor, Shakira Rahim, a spokesperson for Uganda Airlines, confirmed that the service will be the first direct flight from Uganda to China post-COVID.
“Currently, there is no direct flight from Entebbe to China, which brings an amazing opportunity to tap into this gap. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, there were more than 25,000 passengers from China to Uganda, according to 2019 travel data,” said Rahim.
Uganda Airlines will look to expand its cargo operations, which it commenced in September 2021, Rahim added.
“The business case for China is progressive, there has been a lot of trade and business transactions between the two countries,” the Monitor cited Rahim as saying.
However, Rahim said that the airline is yet to receive a permit from the CAAC to fly to the airport because it has not yet submitted its route plan to the CAAC.
Uganda Airlines operates a fleet of four CRJ-900s on its intra-African route networks and two A330-800neos on its long-haul services, which includes four weekly flights to Dubai from its hub in Entebbe.
However, the airline has plans to expand its long-haul operations to the United Kingdom, India, and Saudi Arabia. Uganda Airlines expects to launch operations to London and Guangzhou before the end of the 2022/2023 fiscal year, according to Matia Kasaija, Minister of Finance in Uganda’s Cabinet in a report published by The Independent.