Airbus, Boeing, Embraer battle to supply Uganda Airlines with mid-range planes

Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft operated by Uganda Airlines
AMISOM Public Information /

Airbus, Boeing and Embraer are battling to win a potential order of up to six mid-range aircraft from Ugandan flag carrier Uganda Airlines. 

In an interview with EastAfrican, Jenifer Bamuturaki, Uganda Airlines CEO revealed that the manufacturers had met with the airline to discuss options for mid-range passenger and cargo aircraft. 

“Everyone is pitching: Airbus is pitching, Boeing is pitching, and Embraer is pitching, but as Uganda Airlines, what we are interested in is a mid-range aircraft,” Bamuturaki told EastAfrican.  

According to the interview, the Entebbe-based airline wants to acquire four 100-plus seater passenger aircraft and two freighters in two tranches. It is also aiming to acquire two passenger aircraft and one cargo aircraft in the “short-term” and acquire the same combination within a “five-year timeframe”. 

Airbus’ A321 variants and Boeing’s 737 MAX variants were reportedly pitched to the Ugandan flag carrier.  

Uganda Airlines keen to tap into mid-range market 

Uganda Airlines operates a fleet of four CRJ-900s alongside a pair of Airbus 330-800neos from its hub at Entebbe International Airport (EBB). However, the airline does not operate any mid-range aircraft. 

The mid-range aircraft would allow the airline to right-size its fleet on some routes that are currently operated by its fleet of A330neos. “We want an aircraft that can do Dubai, Mumbai or London when we have low loads. We also want a mid-range one on those routes where the A330 is either too big or unavailable,” East African cited Bamuturaki as having said during a prior interview.  

According to ChimpReports, Uganda Airlines has recorded cumulative losses of 532 billion Ugandan Shillings ($132 million) since the start of its operations in the 2019/2020 financial year (FY 19/20). 

The flag carrier posted a Shs 266 billion ($67.7 million) loss in FY 21/22 compared to a Shs 164.4 billion ($41.7 million) loss in FY 20/21. This was preceded by a Shs 102 billion ($25.9 million) loss in FY 19/20. 

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