Government is in advanced stages of procuring two more aircraft, as efforts to revive Uganda Airlines hit overdrive.
Earlier on Wednesday, Canadian plane manufacturer, Bombardier announced that it has signed a purchase agreement with Uganda for four CRJ900 aircraft.
The four bombardiers will cost an estimated $190 million (about Shs 711 billion). And, today European company, Airbus in statement, confirmed the signing of memorandum of understanding between itself and Uganda Airlines for the purchase of two A330-800neo aircraft.
This means the national carrier which is being revived, will have 6 planes. Cabinet early this month concluded discussions on revival of the national carrier. The two A330-800neo aircraft will each feature, according to the statement, three class cabin layout comprising of 20 Business seats, 28 Premium Economy and 213 Economy seats.
“This agreement demonstrates our ambition for economic growth supported by a robust aviation industry. The A330-800neo combines low operating costs, long range flying capability and high levels of comfort. We are looking forward to launch operations and offer our customers best-in-class service”, said Ephraim Bagenda, CEO of Uganda Airlines.
“We are delighted to welcome Uganda Airlines among our A330neo customers, the A330neo will bring a range of benefits offering unrivalled efficiencies combined with the most modern cabin. We look forward to see the A330-800neo flying in the colours of Uganda”, said Eric Schulz, Airbus chief commercial officer.
Government had set December 2018 as the date for Uganda Airlines to resume operations, but this has been pushed to April 2019. Government needs at least Shs 1.3 trillion to purchase the six aircraft but only Shs 139 billion was budgeted for in 2018/19 financial year.
Recently, State Minister for Planning, David Bahati said government was looking at acquiring loans from banks including China's Exim bank among other investment possibilities. Revamping Uganda Airlines was top on President Yoweri Museveni's must-do list after 2016 presidential elections.
During the inauguration of the cabinet in October 2016, Museveni directed the line ministry to commence work on the task. Museveni argued that "a national airline would help the country save $420 million per year that Ugandans spend on air travel with foreign owned aircraft. Uganda Airlines started operations in 1977 and wound up in May 2001.