Uganda Airlines is on track to launch its new A330-800neo fleet by December – to be deployed on three long-haul routes to Asia, the UK and the Middle East.
This follows the roll-out of the first of two A330s on Friday last week, with freshly painted livery.
The airline – both a start-up and a national carrier which launched in August last year – currently only has four Bombardier CRJ-900s in its fleet. It usually operates routes throughout East Africa but has been granted permission to go to Johannesburg.
Operations to OR Tambo International Airport, initially scheduled to begin in March, are now set to commence within the coming weeks, according to a news report by Simpleflying.com.
In an interview with NTV Uganda, airline CEO, Cornwell Muleya, did not specifically comment on the Johannesburg route but did say Uganda Airlines was exploring routes across Southern and West Africa.
The A330 will be used on long-haul flights from the airline’s Entebbe hub and the current plan is for the two aircraft to fly to Dubai, Guangzhou and London.
The 261-seat aircraft will be configured in three classes – 20 business class seats, 28 in premium economy and 213 in economy class.
Health and safety
On October 1, Uganda reopened its borders and Entebbe International Airport resumed operations for international airlines following a six-month closure during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All the country’s national parks are open, signalling a return to business for the tourism industry, as international travellers may now enter the country for leisure and business travel.
“In reopening, the government of Uganda is committed to providing a safe and sanitary tourism experience for visitors while maintaining the health of the Ugandan people and the country’s wildlife population,” said a spokesperson for the Uganda Tourism Board.
The country has received the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels Global Safety & Hygiene Stamp for complying with globally standardised health and hygiene protocols, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), tour operators, hotels, and lodges, are adhering to strict standard operating procedures pertaining to the international tourism experience, the spokesperson reiterated.
Uganda has initiated new airport procedures in accordance with guidelines from ICAO.
- Every passenger must arrive with a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test certificate for a test conducted within 72 hours prior to arrival in Uganda. Airlines have been instructed not to board any passengers coming to Uganda without a negative PCR COVID-19 test. Any passenger without a negative PCR test will not be allowed to enter the country and must return to their point of origin via the same airline.
- On arrival, all passengers will undergo a health screening, including a temperature check and assessment for other signs of infectious diseases. Screenings will be conducted by the Port Health Team supported by the Ministry of Health. Any passenger who shows signs and symptoms of infectious disease on arrival will be taken to an ambulance and transferred to an isolation centre at the Entebbe Hospital where infectious disease checks and a COVID-19 test will be administered. Results will be provided within 24-48 hours while the passenger remains in the isolation centre. If a passenger tests positive for COVID-19, they will be taken to a dedicated COVID-19 treatment centre.
- Passengers departing Uganda must provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before boarding. Passengers are advised to arrive at the airport at least four hours before departure to allow for security and health screenings.
- Mandatory use of masks and social distancing of one and a half metres within the terminals will be enforced. Access will be barred to those without a face mask.