It was pomp and glamour when Uganda Airlines’ Airbus A330-800 neo landed at Burundi’s Melchior Ndadaye-Bujumbura International Airport on Friday 3rd September, 2021.
This was the aircraft’s maiden commercial flight to Burundi.
The aircraft left Entebbe International Airport at 04:00 pm abd by 04:43 pm it was already in Bujumbura. A water salute was accorded with full praises and excitement from the local people who welcomed those who were on board including the entire cabin crew with their traditional dances.
Due to excitement, Dr. Abel Bazira Bigawa, the Burundi Airlines Commercial Director baptized Uganda’s Airbus as ‘East Africa’s giant passenger aircraft’ which is going to boost businesses in the entire region.
“This is a giant, it will help us and entire East Africa. Ugandans are lucky to have this big bird. Here we may not afford it but as long as we are in the East African community this giant will help us. Uganda Airlines is also becoming a tiger in the region because of the tremendous work they are doing,”Dr Bazira said.
“This is one of its kind, because of its class and if it starts taking long routes it will be a good move for us because we are here to support our own East African giant the Airbus with its amazing features inside, I can clearly say our people will love it.”
Uganda’s Ambassador to Burundi Maj. Gen Matayo Kyaligonza was also among the dignitaries that welcomed the Airbus at Bujumbura.
He said, “This is a tremendous achievement as far as Uganda is concerned and we are looking forward to getting more passengers who have been flying in through Kenya Airways but this time they will be able to fly through Uganda using Uganda Airlines.”
Gen Kyaligonza added that the presence of Airbus is a clear indication that Uganda Airlines is ready to face the competition as long as its services are up to date.
“When we talk about the integrations, the Airlines’ Airbus will play a great role because countries like Burundi may not afford to buy such a huge plane but since it will be landing here, and they will be able to go to Kampala using Uganda airlines and when they want to go to Nairobi, they will still use the same plane, this is already an economic integration. As long there is free movement of the people and goods.”
Passengers speak out
Janvier Nzigo a Congolese national praised Airbus’ interior designs before adding that for Uganda to have such a big aircraft is a perfect move for development.
“It is a beautiful plane with fantastic seats, I mean this is one of its kind. At first, I did not expect what I have seen but it’s amazing, to be honest.”
Ibrahim Osman from the Republic of Somalia said, “With such big Aircraft, the integrations within East Africa and entire Africa would be easy since we shall not depend on western airlines if we have ours that is belonging to our region. It’s great to have such an aircraft like this in East Africa it’s beautiful.”
Ndiwumana Nicodeme, a former aviator (Air traffic controller) from Burundi was also among the passengers who flew from Uganda to Bujumbura. Although he was a passenger, his intention was to see how best Uganda Airlines’ cabin crew can cater for the passengers. He said he was surprised by the excellent work exhibited by the cabin crew.
“What I can say Uganda Airlines is full of surprises, the pilot was at his best, like those in Brussels and Qatar Airways.”
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