By: Kikonyogo Douglas Albert
After close to two decades of being defunct, the revival of Uganda’s national airline is about to be realized. This has been affirmed by the arrival of two new Uganda Airlines CRJ900 aircraft – the 5XKOB and 5XEQU, which have touched down at Entebbe airport April 23 as had been promised.
The two Bombardier planes make the duo first of four CRJ900 regional planes meant to make up the revived Uganda Airlines.
With its pilots further trained in Canada by the manufacturers, the pair flew out of Montreal on Friday and passed 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.
The planes are expected to complete the Air Operator Certification, a mandatory process that is effected upon the physical presence of jets on land.
These are some of the points to note about the new planes.
The Uganda Airlines CRJ900 aircraft will operate in dual-class configuration with 64 economy and 12 first class seats, totaling up to 76.
On the CRJ900 series, the Uganda Airlines will fly to Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zanzibar, and other destinations to be added to the list.
According to the Bombardier, the new planes comprise of “larger passenger living space, wheel-first roller bag capability, more spacious lavatory, increased cabin connectivity options”, which are all integrated into a contemporary design and material choices.
Completion of Air Operator Certification process
Some of the activities involved in the process include the acquisition and transport of aircraft spares; the purchase, implementation and testing of airline systems; and airport services contracting at all destinations across the network.
Other activities are: negotiating supplier contracts for operational services, fuel, catering, and technical handling; branding and uniform design; setting up of commercial offices and distribution network including airline association memberships; and the final online system design and roll out of booking systems and payment gateways.
Will start flights in July 2019
The entire certification process has five phases and is expected to take up to about 90 days to complete. It is during the same period that the cabin crew and pilots will be trained. This sets the start of commercial operations of the Uganda Airlines to July 2019.