Uganda Airlines Ag. Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Bamuturaki has revealed that the Airlines’ aircraft which flew to Seattle, USA via Keflavik in Iceland, was chartered by a client of the National Carrier.
The flight caused excitement both locally and in the international travel enthusiasts, wondering what mission Uganda Airline flight was on in Iceland and the USA.
“It [flight] was by a client, it was hired. We do charters, by the way, that is an angle the airline has, and we have been doing them since 2020. After lockdown, we started, actually, during lockdown we were doing charters,”Ms Bamuturaki said.
She however did not reveal who the customer was, or what the cost of the charter was from Entebbe to Seattle, a distance of more than 8,300 nautical miles or 18 hours. She noted that they are not at liberty to reveal who the client is, as per operational guidelines, but insists it was a charter.
She added, “No, we’re never at liberty to reveal who our clients are even on the passenger flight. Even if you called me and asked me, do you have a client who travelled on such and such a day? I’m not supposed to tell you that but we did operate, it was a charter. We operated to Seattle.”
The Airbus, one of the two of the kind owned by Uganda Airlines, has a sitting capacity of 258 and was purchased purposely for long-distance or international flights, while the smaller four Bombardier aircraft operate regional routes.
However, sources have confirmed that the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah was the one on the flight, but could not reveal who chartered it on his behalf.
The source further noted that the Speaker who has been sick for a while, was last week flown to Seattle to seek specialised treatment.
The Airbus planes were delivered in December 2020 and February 2021 but since then, only the Dubai route is being operated, with the processing of the other planned routes still ongoing.
Ms Bamuturaki says the only way to keep the aircraft busy is to operate charters.
On the cost of chartering an airbus to Seattle,USA, she declined to tell, saying it is confidential information between them and the client.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that the one-way journey is 563,000 US dollars or about 2 billion Ugandans shillings.
Ms Bamuturaki says they will continue doing charters until they get other operational routes.
Meanwhile, plans are underway for the planned routes and Bamuturaki explains that teams are being dispatched starting this week to different countries on feasibility studies.
These routes include Mumbai, Heathrow, Kinshasa, Saudi Arabia and others in West Africa.
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