Uganda: Aircraft were a wise pick

Saturday July 28 2018

A Uganda Airlines aircraft.

A Uganda Airlines aircraft. Kampala is looking to relaunch the airline which was grounded fifteen years ago. PHOTO | NMG 

DAILY MONITOR
By DAILY MONITOR
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Uganda made a wise choice in opting for the Airbus and Bombardier to kick-start the operation of its national carrier, says Works and Transport Minister Monica Azuba Ntege.

Ms Ntege, in what many see as a reaction to stories appearing in the media castigating the choice of the aircraft, said the government made the choice after carefully analysing the technical and financial specifications of the companies that expressed interest.

She said the government received proposals from Airbus, Bombardier, and Boeing but chose the first two after careful analysis. Uganda has already paid $400,000 to Bombardier and $800,000 to Airbus to facilitate the aircraft manufacture.

Ms Azuba said each Bombardier will cost $27.7 million while each Airbus A330-800 will cost $108 million, prices she said are much lower than what Boeing had quoted.

But the figures quoted by the minister are lower than those Bombardier reported on their website while announcing the total cost of the four aircraft. The company had said: “Based on the list price for the CRJ900 aircraft, the firm order is valued at approximately $190 million.”

When asked about the discrepancies in the figures, Ms Azuba said the Finance Ministry could have negotiated the figures down to what they gave her.

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A few days ago, the country announced agreements with Bombardier, a Canadian aerospace company, to supply aircraft for regional routes, while Airbus will supply Airbus A330-800 for international routes.

The Airbus A330-800 order raised concerns, with critics saying since it made its maiden flight about two years ago, no airline has made orders for the plane. Even those that had made one later cancelled the order.

Uganda will be the first country to fly the A330-800 carrier, if it maintains the order. However, other variants such as A330-200, 300 and 900 are already on the market.

But Ms Azuba said the Airbus A330-800 variant is suited for the needs of the Uganda National Airline Company, which will ply the Far Eastern markets.

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