Many Ugandans have welcomed the arrival of Uganda Airlines’ latest aircraft – the Airbus A330Neo with excitement and a renewed sense of hope.
The home-coming direct flight of the brand new jetliner from the manufacturer’s factory in Toulouse, France to Entebbe International Airport on Tuesday December 22, was enjoyed by noted airline players, specialist air aviation writers, hospitality industry executives, government officials and regulators.
The aircraft, the first of two jetliners bought by the Uganda government at a hefty fee of about UGX518billion, is the first of its kind to be acquired by an African airline.
Works and transport Minister Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala accompanied by over 20 government officials took receipt of the machine in Toulouse on Monday, before the machine’s first official maiden flight.
President Yoweri Museveni witnessed it’s landing at Entebbe on Tuesday amid jubilations, a synchronized water-cannon shower and traditional performance.
President Museveni didn’t waste the opportunity to cite the occasion as one of his achievement, even as his critics blame his 35 year administration as a lost generation that was characterized with initial collapse of the national Carrier before it was eventually revived and relaunched in 2019.
The unveiling ceremony was made the more exciting with a live hour by hour social media coverage of the aircraft home-coming journey by renowned aviation writers and other industry watchers.
The purchase of the 72-seater A330 is meant to launch the revived National Carrier’s long haul direct flight operations starting in January 2021 with with the Entebbe-Dubai route.
Other routes such as Entebbe-Abu Dhabi, Entebbe-Johannesburg and Entebbe-London are a work in progress but the acquisition of the first A330 with its sister expected in January of 2021, is likely to boost those negotiations.