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Uganda Airlines To Launch Flights To China In October

The Dubai route has performed well for Uganda Airlines

Uganda Airlines is slated to launch inaugural flights to Guangzhou, China in October 2022.

This is after Uganda’s national carrier in June secured landing rights to any point in China except Beijing and Shanghai.

The 11-hour flight will be Uganda Airlines’ longest  route and will help improve the utilization of the two Airbus A330-800neo in its fleet.

With this, China will become the second international route for the national carrier after the launch of the Dubai route in October 2021.

Sources say Uganda Airlines officials are close to clearing all regulatory requirements and completing arrangements for receiving the ‘Crane’ on the ground in Guangzhou.

“We are way ahead along the track to launch flights to Guangzhou. We can now speak with confidence that come October 18, the inaugural flight will take off,” says Regina Tebasiima, the manager for revenue management, who is also acting in the commercial director role.

The outbound flights will leave Entebbe shortly after midnight for a same-day late afternoon arrival in China. The flight will turnround within a two-hour window for a return to base by midnight the same day.

“We are trying to stick to a 24-hour rotation in order to ensure the fleet will be adequate when we grow the frequency and also start the service to London,” Tebasiima said.

She adds that preparations for the long-anticipated services to London are about halfway done and commercial flights are expected to start anywhere between December 2022 and March 2023. “It is a work in progress. We are looking at the six-month window between October and March 2023, as the definitive period, because at the bilateral level, the relevant government organs have covered a lot of ground. At the airline, we have been proactive in making sure that we tick all the relevant boxes,” Tebasiima explained.

The inaugural flight to Guangzhou will operate as a hybrid proving flight, as well as a commercial operation with paying passengers. The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority requires all home-registered operators to conduct such flights with inspectors on board, prior to giving the operation a final green light.

Besides the restrictions that tie the airline to a single weekly frequency, the China Civil Aviation Commission (CAAC) has also limited the number of passengers on board to just under 60 per cent load factor at 150 of the 258 seats on board.

Although travelers to China will be subject to Covid-19 restrictions, including a quarantine period, Tebasiima believes there’s sufficient pent-up demand within the resident Chinese community and Ugandan traders to support the service.

“Of course, we would have loved it, if we were allowed to fly unrestricted but we have to appreciate the unique challenges the destination faces,” she says.

China has maintained a zero-Covid policy, that has seen it keep travel restrictions in place, longer than other regions of the world.

Uganda Airlines is looking to the long-haul network to stimulate connecting traffic between the existing regional network and destinations such as London and Guangzhou.

Uganda Airlines started commercial operations in August 2019.

The national carrier currently operates a fleet of four (4) CRJ900 and two (2) Airbus A330-800neo.


One thought on “Uganda Airlines To Launch Flights To China In October

  1. Malinga Francis

    Congratulations Uganda Airlines. Limiting load factors to under 60% is not fair for 11 hour flight. Why not allow the airlines unrestricted capacity?. Uganda Airlines should engage the China Civil Aviation commission for unrestricted capacity.

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