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Uganda Airlines to Boost Capacity to Johannesburg

The airline is looking to grow through wet leasing.

A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Uganda Airlines is gearing up to expand its fleet with the addition of an A320neo through wet-leasing.

CEO Jennifer Bamuturaki, in an interview with national broadcaster UBC on March 27, revealed that this move is seen as a temporary solution due to the prolonged lead times associated with purchasing narrowbody aircraft. “We haven’t committed to an order for purchase yet; the soonest we could expect delivery is in 2029 or 2030.”

According to the airline boss, this aircraft will primarily serve the Entebbe to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo route, bridging the medium-haul gap within the current fleet. Bamuturaki explained this by stating, “We intend to deploy this aircraft on routes where our CRJ usage faces challenges in volume and weight. We anticipate a boost in our performance metrics, particularly on routes like Johannesburg, where baggage restrictions have been a limiting factor.”

A spokesperson from the airline, as reported by aeronautical data company CH-Aviation also confirmed that “The aircraft in question is an A320, and we are scheduled to take delivery later this month.” Details of the lessor were, however, not disclosed.

The wet-lease agreement enables Uganda Airlines to leverage the entire aircraft, including crew, maintenance, and insurance, while the carrier plans for a permanent acquisition.

By introducing the wet-leased A320neo, Uganda Airlines aims to overcome capacity constraints present in its current fleet of four CRJ900LRs and two A330-800neo widebodies. This move is expected to enhance operational flexibility, particularly on routes where the existing Bombardier regional jets fall short.

Bamuturaki further announced that Uganda Airlines has secured foreign operator permits for several new destinations, including Jeddah International and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Lusaka in Zambia, and Harare in Zimbabwe.

“We are not only focused on expanding our route network but also on establishing Entebbe as a hub where passengers can seamlessly connect to other flights or explore Uganda’s tourism offerings,” she emphasized.

Despite being operational since 2019, Uganda Airlines has faced scrutiny over its continual need for capitalization, despite reporting significant losses over the past three years.

This is after the Parliamentary Budget Committee, led by Hon. Tony Awany, disclosed earlier this year on Jan. 16, 2024, that the government plans to inject an additional UGShs34.9 billion ($9.2 million USD) into Uganda National Airlines, bringing the total budget allocation to UGShs120.9 billion ($31.8 million USD).

The Budget Committee members have raised concerns about the airline’s profitability and operational efficiency, seeking clarification on the government’s ongoing investment in Uganda National Airlines.

Victor Shalton

Author

  • Victor Shalton

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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