The aircraft is currently being disinfected and will thereafter go through the water salute ritual before its unveiled and received by invited guests at Entebbe Airport
Gen. Katumba Wamala, (Centre) the minister for works and transport with other government officials after receiving the aircraft in Toulouse , Fance. Uganda Airlines Photo
Uganda Airlines says its first Airbus A330-800 Neo Aircraft will start flights by the end of January 2021.
Roger Wamala, the Uganda Airlines Commercial Director says the national carrier's Airbus' first flight will be to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
He told Uganda Radio Network that this will be after the airline receives the second Airbus aircraft, which is expected to arrive at Entebbe International Airport next month.
He made the comments after the first Airbus aircraft, flight number UR 404, landed at Entebbe Airport this morning.
The aircraft departed from Toulouse, France last night after Airbus officials handed it over. It landed at 10:58am at Entebbe Airport after the seven and half hours flight. On board was Gen. Katumba Wamala, the minister for Works and Transport, Bageya Waiswa, the ministry's Permanent Secretary, Fred Bamwesigye, the Acting Director General of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and staff of Uganda Airlines.
The number of delegates who traveled to pick the aircraft has been controversial, after Daily Monitor indicated a figure of a whopping 30 government officials. The airline however refuted the figure, but did not indicate the total number of people who arrived with the aircraft this morning.
Captains Micheal Etyang and Nicholaj Olsen flew the aircraft, which is an addition to the airlines' fleet of four CRJ900 Bombadier aircrafts.
Cornwell Muleya, the Acting CEO Uganda Airlines, expressed his excitement, noting in a press release on Monday that the Airbus aircraft "will allow the national carrier to expand its network from the hub of Entebbe International Airport to connect Uganda to intercontinental destinations in Asia, the Middle East and Europe"
The targeted routes are so far from Entebbe to Guangzhou, Dubai and London.
Meanwhile, the new aircraft has a total seat capacity of 258 seats. Of
these, business class with a 1-2-1 layout,
has 20 reclinable seats, premium economy has 28 seats with a 2-3-2
layout while economy class has 210 seats
in a 2-4-2 layout.
It is currently being disinfected and will thereafter go through the water salute ritual before its unveiled and received by invited guests at Entebbe Airport.
President Yoweri Museveni is expected to officiate at the receiving ceremony for the aircraft at Entebbe Airpo
Media reports show that the Airbus A330-800 is rare, with manufacturers having sold only 14 aircrafts so far to countries including Kuwait and Uganda. Kuwait has ordered for 8 of these aircrafts. Meanwhile, Airbus has sold at least 318 aircrafts of the more popular A330-900 version, because .
However, Wamala is aware that many people are skeptical about the Airbus aircrafts because of its rarity. "They are rare because they are a new version. People are right to be concerned. But they should know that the manufacturer has post-delivery obligations to fulfill."
These obligations include routine maintenance, provision of spare parts among others.