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Uganda Airlines acquires 35-year-old Airbus A320 from South Africa

Uganda Airlines

Uganda Airlines (UR, Entebbe) will lease an Airbus A320 this month to service its route to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, South Africa, according to CEO Jenifer Bamuturaki.

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The one-year wet lease, which begins this month, is a temporary solution due to long wait times for purchasing new narrowbody aircraft. The 35-year-old aircraft will be provided by Global Airways, a Johannesburg-based airline. A wet lease includes the crew and maintenance of the aircraft.

Uganda Airlines' current fleet consists of four CRJ900LRs and two A330-800N widebodies. The addition of the A320 will allow the airline to increase capacity on routes where the CRJ900LRs are currently limited.

"We will put this aircraft on routes where we are using the CRJ and are having volume and weight challenges," Bamuturaki explained. "We hope to see an increase and improvement in our numbers [as a result], especially on those routes like Johannesburg, where we are restricting the baggage weight and number of bags you can carry."

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Johannesburg's hot-and-high conditions limit the range and payload of aircraft operating there.

The Airbus A320 will double the capacity on the routes it is deployed on compared to the 90-seater CRJ900.

Uganda Airlines has also received foreign operator permits for several new destinations, including:

  • Jeddah International and Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
  • Lusaka (Zambia)
  • Harare International (Zimbabwe)

The airline is also awaiting a permit for Guangzhou, China.

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"We are looking forward to expanding our route network, but also we're looking forward to the fact that we will be creating a hub concept in Entebbe where we will bring people through to connect on other flights or to come into Uganda to enjoy our tourism," she said.

Uganda Airlines aims to be profitable by 2027 by covering 85% of its operating costs within three years.

This plan involves reducing expenses in areas like crew training, rentals, fuel, and maintenance. The airline is also focusing on long-term sustainability by expanding into new routes, cargo services, and regional tourism.

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