📌Arrives 🇺🇬 10.30am
🌍excellent range versatility
Toulouse, France | THE INDEPENDENT & AGENCIES | A new Uganda Airlines plane, an Airbus A330neo, has just taken off on an 11-hour journey from Southern France, heading to Entebbe Airport.
The A330neo is the latest version of the most popular widebody airliner and will be the first Airbus aircraft delivered to Uganda Airlines, which was re-established in 2019.
President Yoweri Museveni is expected to receive the plane ‘ Mt Elgon’ officially when it lands at Entebbe Airport. On board are Ugandan pilots who are flying the plane, and a delegation of 30 led by Minister Gen Katumba Wamala, that flew to Toulouse to receive the new Airbus.
An hour before the plane took off from Toulouse, Chief Pilot Capt Michael Etiang told UBC TV that it was an honor to be flying the new bird home.
“There has been a lot of training we have gone through and a lot of effort by government to acquire a machine like this. It is a good chance for us to make our mark in international aviation, give passengers a more direct experience of travel to wherever they want to go. It will reduce the risk of exposure to COVID by going through many airports.”
He added that, “For myself it is a real honor. I have always wanted to be a pilot, and this is a culmination of a long dream.”
Etiang hailed government for reviving Uganda Airlines, which he said is an opportunity for the country’s flag to fly high around the world.
“I need to thank the Government and The President for his commitment. He made a promise to revive the airline and he has followed through on that, and for that we all owe him a deep debt of gratitude,” he said, adding that “I thank parliament for approving the funds, the public for supporting us and all my colleagues at Uganda Airlines for trying to create something new. The Airbus is a fantastic aircraft, very automated and is at par with any other machine. All glory to God.”
Boeing praises Uganda
In a statement Monday, Airbus said the country’s flag-carrier had made the perfect choice of aircraft needed to operate in the new normal of post-COVID-19 recovery. The A330neo will enable the newly re-launched airline to launch its long-range operations with non-stop intercontinental flights to the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
“Thanks to its tailored, mid-sized capacity and its excellent range versatility, the A330neo is considered the ideal aircraft to operate as part of the post-COVID-19 recoverym,” Airbus said in a statement.
The A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft, building on the features of the popular A330 and using technology developed for the A350. (CLICK HERE FOR LIVE UPDATE ON THE PLANE’S FLIGHT PATH INTO AFRICAN AIR SPACE)
The aircraft burns 25% less fuel per seat than previous generation competitors. The A330neo cabin offers a unique passenger experience with more personal space and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity.
Featuring Airbus’ Airspace cabin, passengers can enjoy a unique experience which includes 20 full-flat, business-class beds, 28 premium-economy seats and 210 economy-class seats, totalling 258 seats.
“In line with the Company’s strategy to keep offering its customers unbeatable economics, increased operational efficiency and superior passenger comfort, the A330-800 is the latest addition to Airbus’ commercial aircraft product line,” Airbus said.
In a recent interview, Cornwell Muleya, the company acting CEO said because of the COVID pandemic, they will now start of international flights next year, and not October as earlier planned.
Muleya said “We’re targeting that we receive the aircraft in the last quarter [of the year] at least by December so that early in the New year we can launch our operations.”
He added that “We’re targeting mainly three connections to overseas markets, which is Dubai, London as well as the Chinese market in Guangzhou.”
Uganda currently has four bombardiers – CRJ 900 series, plying up to eight regional routes since August 2019.
Congrats on taking delivery of your first #A330neo, @UG_Airlines!
An aircraft offering
🌍excellent range versatility
The ideal solution to operate as part of the post-COVID recovery.
Many happy landings with the A330neo, Uganda Airlines! pic.twitter.com/SfpwhmZcK7
— Airbus (@Airbus) December 21, 2020
Launched in July 2014, the A330neo Family is the new generation A330, comprising two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900 sharing 99 percent commonality.
The plane, according to Airbus, builds on the proven economics, versatility and reliability of the A330 Family, while reducing fuel consumption by about 25 percent per seat versus previous generation competitors and increasing range by up to 1,500 nm compared to the majority of A330s in operation.
Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and featuring a new wing with increased span and A350-inspired Sharklets, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency.
The cabin provides the comfort of the new Airspace amenities including state-of-the-art passenger inflight entertainment and Wifi connectivity systems, amongst others.
Airbus has only sold 14 of the -800 version of the A330neo compared to 318 of the A330-900, making news of its deliveries a rarity indeed. The shorter version of the A330neo was first delivered to launch customer Kuwait Airways in October.