October 19, 2020 / Uganda Airlines (UR) could be the first carrier in the world to fly the Airbus A330-800. The fledgling Entebbe-based African carrier is intended as a revival of Air Uganda, which operated from 1977 to 2001. For some 19 years, the Central African Country did not have its own national airline and links to the rest of the world have been operated by foreign airlines including Emirates (EK), Kenya Airways (KQ), Ethiopian Airlines (ET), Rwandair (WB), Air France (AF), Brussels Airlines (SN) and KLM (KLM).
On January 30, 2018 the new airline was officially founded and in that same year orders for four regional jets had been placed. But UR had more grand plans and so two long-range Airbus A330-800 were also ordered, with the intention of servicing Europe and, who knows, China. The smaller version of the A330neo was selling very slow, so that it’s highly possible that Uganda Airlines’ order was a smart move in point of aircraft price.
Operations with the CRJ-900s started on August 28, 2019 so the airline had a mere six months before the world went into lockdown because of the Covid pandemic. But after so much bad luck, what would be better than being the world first airline to operate a new aircraft type, to obtain great visibility and publicity? It’s what is happening these days, when the photos of the first of Uganda Airlines’ A330-800 are making the round of the world as the brand-new aircraft exits the paint shop showing a stunning livery.
The plane is in a three-class cabin configuration, with 20 seats in Business, 28 seats in Premium Economy and 213 in Economy. No details regarding the destination(s) the aircraft is set to serve have been released by the airline, which has high hopes in starting long-haul operations before the end of 2020. Should this happen, Uganda Airlines could ‘steal’ the -800 premiere to Kuwait Airways (KU), which was the launch customer for the type with an order for eight but hasn’t yet announced when and where it is going to deploy its first sample. The aircraft exited the paint shop a few months ago, when the ‘first wave’ of the Covid pandemic was in full swing, but has not been delivered to the Middle eastern carrier, yet. (Photo Airbus)