Uganda Airlines on Monday October 4, 2021 officially made its maiden flight to Dubai, UAE in what has been described as a game-changing milestone for the national carrier.
Dubai is the first international route that Uganda Airlines is plying using the newly acquired Airbus state-of-the-art aircraft that was recently included on the Airline’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC).
The inaugural flight to Dubai attracted about 80 passengers, who were visibly excited as they boarded the Airbus A330-800neo. The airline will start with three weekly flights to Dubai, with days and times carefully selected to match travelers’ convenience and connectivity.
Flagging off the maiden flight to Dubai at Entebbe International Airport, Fred Byamukama, the State Minister for Transport said the inaugural flight to Dubai has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the Dubai route will boost Uganda’s economy.
“You have seen cargo being loaded on Uganda Airlines Airbus; pineapples, oranges among other items. This shows Uganda’s economy is growing. The taxes people are paying are being utilized well and Ugandans will now be travelling at a very cheaper cost; our (Uganda Airlines) fares are cheaper compared to other airlines,” Byamukama said.
He added that Uganda Airlines has great services onboard, with enough legroom for all classes.
“The cargo capacity is high. It can carry about 18 tonnes. When you see oranges and pineapples on this aircraft, it means even the ordinary farmer is benefiting,” Byamukama said, adding that the airline has also offered jobs to a number of Ugandans.
He added that the national carrier will also market Uganda internationally and tourists coming from United Arab Emirates (UAE) will quickly come to Uganda, thanks to non-stop flights from Dubai to Entebbe and vice-versa.
“I appeal to Ugandans to fly ‘the Crane’ to various destinations because it’s our own,” he said, noting that they plan to buy cargo aircraft in the near future.
Speaking at the same event, Doreen Nambatya, the Acting Sales & Marketing Manager at Uganda Airlines said “the dream to fly to Dubai has come to pass”.
“We have been working tirelessly to see this maiden flight take off,” Nambatya noted.
Asked if the airline is happy with the 75 passengers onboard despite the Airbus’ capacity to carry 258 people, Nambatya said: “For the inaugural flight, I am very happy. It shows the numbers will keep on growing.”
She added that the country will get more revenue because Ugandans will no doubt embrace Uganda Airlines because of its competitive fares.
“This new route offers the best solution for all travelers, with a non-stop scheduled service between Entebbe and Dubai, reduced journey time, luxury travel and superior onboard service filled with the legendary Ugandan hospitality.”
Fred Bamwesigye, the Director General at Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) said it’s a big milestone for the national carrier because it’s going to one of the biggest trade centres in the world. He added that he’s happy that Uganda Airlines will soon launch flights to London and Mumbai.
“This means it will bring people from those centres to Uganda and it will take Ugandans to those centres. In as far as aviation is concerned, that is a very big step forward because the industry is growing; Uganda is being known. For Entebbe International Airport, that means bringing more passengers to the airport especially tourists who will boost the tourism industry,” Bamwesigye said.
He added that Uganda Airlines is already dominating the market in the EAC region.
“We believe it will be an airline of choice. Considering the time it (Uganda Airlines) has been in existence, it is doing very well. For us at UCCA, it has boosted the number of passengers that come to Entebbe Airport which we manage. Some of them are transit passengers,” he said, adding that they have done everything possible to evaluate the safety measures it has put in place.
“Uganda will take its place in the world of aviation industry.”
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