Uganda Airlines revival on course as country receives two bombardier jets

Tuesday April 23 2019

Uganda airlines

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni waves as he receives one of the two CRJ900 bombardier jets for Uganda Airlines at the Entebbe International Airport on April 23,2019. PHOTO | ABUBAKER LUBOWA | DAILY MONITOR 

DAILY MONITOR
By DAILY MONITOR
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Uganda has received two bombardier CRJ900 jets as part of its plan to revive national carrier Uganda Airlines, which was grounded almost two decades ago.

The two aircraft touched down at the Entebbe International Airport at 9.55am (0655GMT) on Tuesday morning, with President Yoweri Museveni gracing the ceremony.

The event, marked by ululations, chants and dances, signals the official revival of Uganda Airlines that was liquidated in 2001.

Before landing, the jets first circled the airport.

President Museveni officially received the planes at 9.57am (0657GMT) after a welcoming water cannon salute.

The two CRJs have registration numbers 5x-KOB and 5x-EQU with the words Uganda Airlines embellished on the sides.

Also present at the ceremony included Works and Transport Minister, Monica Azuba Ntege, Uganda National Roads boss Allen Kagina among other dignitaries.

The Bombardier CRJ900 hit the skies for the first test flight at Montreal Mirabel International Airport, Canada recently.

An 8-minute video clip uploaded on YouTube shows the test flight. The video triggered greater excitement among many Ugandans.

With its pilots further trained in Canada by the manufacturers, the pair flew out of Montreal on Friday passing through northern Canada.

They then headed to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, before making their way to Maastricht in the Southeastern Netherlands. They would then connect to Cairo, Egypt from where they headed straight to Entebbe.

Revived airline

Last year, Uganda ordered for four CRJ900 regional jets as part of the much-anticipated plan for the revival of the national carrier.

The revived airline will be the first carrier to operate the new CRJ-series atmosphere cabin in Africa. 

The cabin design allows passengers to carry and store an "oversized" roller bag within the aircraft cabin bins, which minimises the need to check bags at the counter or the gate.

The Ugandan government paid Ush280 billion ($74.8 million) for the two planes through a supplementary budget approval by Parliament.

The Uganda National Airlines Company will operate the CRJ900 in dual-class configuration with 76 economy seats and 12 first class seats.

According to the manufacturer, the new model atmosphere cabin sets new standards of passenger experience in the regional jet market segment.

Key features of the new interior comprise of larger passenger living space, wheel-first roller bag capability, more spacious lavatory, increased cabin connectivity options, all integrated into a contemporary design and material choices.

The first Bombardier was supposed to be delivered last month. But there were changes in the programme.

The initial plan was that the manufacturer would deliver a jet per month starting January.

The revival of the national carrier has divided opinions with some government technocrats, including some at the Central Bank opposing it.

However, the government maintained it needed a carrier to promote tourism and ensure national pride.

—Additional reporting by URN

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