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Uganda Airlines Officially Gets Air Operator Certificate For Airbus Aircraft, Set For Long-haul Routes

Minister of State for Transport, Fred Byamukama (2nd Right) receiving the AOC from UCAA boss Fred Bamwesigye

Uganda Airlines has successfully got Airbus A330-800neo (new engine option) aircraft included on the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) fleet listing.

The inclusion opens Uganda’s routes across continents with the official launch of long-haul route being Dubai in October 2021.  Other international and long-haul routes such as London and Guangzhou will follow.

The certificate was officially received by Fred Byamukama, the State Minister for Transport from Fred Bamwesigye, the Ag. Director General at Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA). The event took place on Monday at Entebbe International Airport inside one of the Airbuses.

Minister Byamukama noted that the aircraft have been bought using taxpayers’ money and urged Ugandans to fly using their ‘own’ airline because it is cheaper compared to others.

“We have to fight those misusing taxpayers’ money. Ugandans should pay taxes and it’s a responsibility of everyone to monitor how it (taxpayers’ money) is used,” Byamukama said.

He applauded Uganda Airlines, UCAA and Ministry of Transport for working hard to ensure that Airbus A330-800neo aircraft get Air Operator Certificate.

Each Airbus aircraft has capacity to carry 258 passengers.

UCAA boss Bamwesigye said that the Airbus A330-800neo went through a five-phase process to ensure safety of the passengers.

“The certification has taken long because we wanted to ensure no mistake is done. Safety is very important in aviation, that’s why we even go into small details. Uganda Airlines should now focus on Safety Management Systems,” Bamwesigye said, adding that the inclusion of Airbus A330-800neo will increase passenger numbers at Entebbe International Airport.

Interim Board Chairman of Uganda Airlines, Bageya Waiswa, who doubles as Ministry of Works & Transport Permanent Secretary described the certification of Airbus as a landmark in the revival of Uganda Airlines. He said the plan to revive the national carrier was in the 2016-2021 NRM Manifesto.

Huge Milestone

Jennifer Bamuturaki, the Ag. CEO at Uganda Airlines said the milestone is one of the many that signifies the continued growth of national carrier in the Ugandan Aviation industry.

“With this AOC inclusion, Uganda Airlines is now formally approved to carry Cargo. This is of particular importance to the growth of trade and commerce in Uganda as it opens channels for transportation of Cargo both into and out of Uganda,” Bamuturaki said.

She added that the certification of the Airbus on the AOC has been a concerted effort of all our dedicated staff across all disciplines.

“Passengers will get to experience a new experience due to innovations from our Commercial and IT systems which can be seen through our new website and improved communications solutions across the entire network,” Bamuturaki said.

Jennifer Bamuturaki (second Left), the Ag. CEO at Uganda Airlines beams with the AOC after receiving it from Minister Byamukama

The Airbus A330 is a state-of-the-art aircraft with competitive features to make travel enjoyable and comfortable.

Some of these features include full lie-flat seats for the Business class, onboard Wi-Fi access throughout the aircraft, a state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system with lots of blockbuster movies and increased legroom for all classes.

“Whereas COVID-19 has disrupted travel all over the World, Uganda Airlines is committed to implementing the initiatives of its Business Plan, and we look forward to effectively utilizing the Airbus by beginning flights soon,” Bamuturaki said, adding: “With our planned direct flights, we call on the public to support the Airline by flying with us to all destinations.”

The Airline will now turn its efforts to the Self Ground Handling initiatives and the Phase in of the Uganda Airlines Approved Maintenance Organisation.

“All these are intended to give our Shareholders an efficient cost benefit for the entire investment by running all functions inhouse. We all but beg for your support and understanding as these processes take shape,” Bamuturaki said.

She revealed that Uganda Airlines Pilots, Cabin Crew and other operational Staff have undergone rigorous training to international Aviation Standards and have been vetted as applicable by the national carrier’s regulatory partner in the industry the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority.

“They are here to ensure that our passengers experience the highest levels of safety in the operation. We are also grateful to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and the Management and staff of Uganda Airlines for your tireless efforts in the just concluded inclusion process,” Bamuturaki said.

She also thanked President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for his vision and support to the Airline thus far.

The airline started commercial operations in August 2019 and operates a fleet of four (4) CRJ900, and two (2) Airbus A330-800neo.

Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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