Uganda Airlines set to start long-haul flights after certification of new aircrafts
Uganda’s recently revamped national carrier, the Uganda Airlines, on Friday announced that its two newly acquired Airbus A330neo had been added to its Air Operator’s Certificate following a rigorous process with the regulator, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority.
The development means that now the airline can go ahead with its expansion plans of undertaking long-haul flights using the Airbus A330neo this year.
The two Airbus aircrafts recently acquired by the airline are earmarked to serve on long-haul routes to Mumbai, Dubai, Guangzhou and London in the coming weeks after these plans were initially pushed further following new travel restrictions.
London and Dubai introduced new travel restrictions due to a surge in Covid-19 infections and the rise and spread of a new variant of the disease in some parts of the world.
Uganda Airlines then pushed its expansion plans to the end of the year, citing Covid-19 travel restrictions on its intended destinations.
Airline officials are certain that flights to the new destinations will happen as soon as travel restrictions are relaxed in destination countries.
Currently, the airline plies regional routes such as Kinshasa, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Juba, Mogadishu and Kilimanjaro. Others are Mombasa, Zanzibar, Lusaka, Bujumbura and Johannesburg using four Bombardier CRJ900 aircrafts.
The Airline was set to start the long haul trips by July from its hub at Entebbe to Europe, India, China and the Middle East, but these have now been pushed to September and December after the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom – to which the national carrier intended to fly this year, slapped bans on direct flights from the country.
The airline could not fly to Dubai as earlier scheduled in the first week of July because Uganda is among the countries on UAE’s red list and therefore flights to Dubai were moved to September.
Direct flights to Heathrow London, a route to which the airline has been allocated five flights a week, will commence in December following a review of the UK red list.
The airline’s entry on this route will offer the only non-stop connection to the UK from the country since the exit of British Airways, a market that is indirectly served by at least by nine of the international airlines operating in Entebbe.
Mumbai, scheduled for November, is waiting for the Uganda government to lift a ban on direct flights between Entebbe and India while Uganda and China are in talks to sign bilateral air agreements that allow the airline to land in China.