Uganda Airlines gets Dubai, London slots but airbuses remain grounded

A330-800 Neo Uganda Airlines

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Uganda Airlines has secured slots for departures and landing of aircraft at London Heathrow Airport and Dubai International Airport as it prepares for commencement of long haul flights to the UK, United Arab Emirates and China.

This comes after the airline received its two Airbus A330-800Neo aircraft in December 2020 and last month.

Roger Wamala, the Uganda Airlines Commercial Director says the two aircraft, code named Mt Elgon and Mt. Rwenzori, will however remain grounded because the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has not yet cleared them to fly. UCAA is expected to clear the planes at the end of April.

Wamala adds that for the London route, the national career  has secured the slot for the summer season, that is March to October 2021. But even if UCAA clears the aircrafts, he said, “we cannot fly to London because there is still a lockdown on non-essential travel to and from the UK.”

“Those are the two hurdles, so we have the slots but we cannot fly,” Wamala told this publication.

The operator of an airport allocates a slot, or specific time for an airline to land and take off at the airport. By the time of filing this story, the ministry of works and Uganda Airlines officials were yet to disclose hat it took to secure the two slots in Dubai and London.  

Uganda Airlines is expected to operate  long and short haul flights to reduce air transport costs,  boost Uganda’s  tourism and exports among other objectives.

With its fleet of 4 CRJ900 Bombardier and 2 Airbus A330 Neo aircraft, the airline  plans to fly to 20 destinations on the African continent  and  flights to London, Dubai, Mumbai and Guangzhou.

Read Also: Uganda Airlines made Shs 40bn from passenger revenue in 2020

Uganda National Airlines resumed operations in 2019, 18 years after its initial collapse. The airline collapsed in 2001 after operating for 25 years and the idea to revive it gained momentum in 2017.

The airline currently operates in six countries and nine destinations in the region. These include Nairobi, Mombasa, Kinshasa, Dar-es-salaam and Mogadishu

It carried over 78,000 passengers from August 2019 to March 2020 to the  nine destinations.