Uganda on Tuesday received the first of the two brand new flag-carriers meant to boost tourism and travel across the continent and beyond.
The second Airbus is expected in the country next year.
In an event at Entebbe International Airport where President Museveni was the chief guest, the A300neo that cost Uganda about Shs5 trillion rolled in to a spectacular welcome like a new-born baby.
“This is a historic day in the history of Uganda Airlines. We are excited about the delivery of the new A300neo which strengthens our fleet capabilities and introduces the desired service standards for our long-haul operations,” said Mr Conwel Muleya, the chief executive officer of Uganda Airlines, in a press statement yesterday.
“Congratulations to @UGAirlines as they receive a new A330neo aircraft. The revived Uganda Airlines will support our economic growth by facilitating transport and tourism. It will be a major boost if the $400m Ugandans spend annually on air travel comes to our own airline.” President Museveni tweeted after receiving the brand new airbus.
The President graced the ceremony which some NRM supporters called “a sign of steady progress,” even as Opposition groups accused Mr Museveni’s government of killing Uganda Airlines only to realise its significance after nearly two decades in limbo.
The airbus took about seven and a half hours from Toulouse in France to Entebbe Airport.
According to Uganda Airlines, the new craft is planned to take on new routes including Guangzhou and Beijing Cities in China, Heathrow Airport in the UK, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
In August as the coronavirus pandemic grounded travelers, Uganda Airlines said it had developed routes in Africa and was set to join other airlines in the intercontinental market by December.
Uganda Airlines operates a fleet of four CRJ900 Bombardiers mainly within the region and South Africa. The two airbuses, with one expected to be delivered in January, would make them six.
Works and Transport minister Gen Edward Katumba Wamala on Monday received the A330neo at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Toulouse, France.
“The ideal solution to operate as part of the post-Covid-19 recovery. Many happy landings with the A330neo….,” he tweeted.
Uganda Professional Pilot’s Association (UPPA) felt proud of Uganda Airlines Chief pilot, Michile Etiang, who delivered the plane with another colleague.
UPPA yesterday tweeted: “To Captain Etiang, Eng Kalisa and the entire flight crew, thank you for a job well done, welcome home. #A330 is here…”