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UGANDA AIRLINES TARGETS EUROPEAN MARKET WITH NEW LONDON GATWICK ROUTE

Uganda Airlines, the national carrier of Uganda, is charting an ambitious course for substantial growth over the next five years. The airline is set to double its fleet and expand its destinations, signalling its strong international aspirations. Among the notable developments is the upcoming launch of flights to London Gatwick, scheduled for the end of the year, after securing slots at this major South London airport.

Fleet Expansion and Modernization

 

Since its revival nearly five years ago, Uganda Airlines has consistently grown its fleet, which currently includes six aircraft: four CRJ900LRs and two Airbus A330-800neos. To strengthen its regional operations, the airline also utilizes an Airbus A320-200, wet-leased from South Africa’s Global Airways.

 

This wet-leased A320 enables Uganda Airlines to operate regional routes where the CRJ900 faces payload limitations. The airline’s long-term strategy involves integrating single-aisle aircraft into its fleet, highlighted by a recent Request for Proposal (RFP) for up to four Airbus A320neos, following government approval.

 

 

While the earliest delivery of new A320neos is anticipated by 2031, Uganda Airlines is actively negotiating with lessors to lease these aircraft sooner, ensuring they meet the airline’s preferred cabin configurations and design standards. Additionally, the airline is exploring a finance lease arrangement, which would eventually transfer ownership of the aircraft to Uganda Airlines.

 

To enhance its long-haul capabilities, the airline is also considering new widebody aircraft. A recent visit from Boeing executives to Uganda’s President resulted in an agreement for two Boeing 777 Freighters and 787 Dreamliners. Uganda Airlines is moving forward with the 787 deal and is in ongoing talks with Boeing.

 

New Route to London Gatwick

 

Uganda Airlines has long aimed to launch flights to London. This goal is finally within reach, thanks to Uganda’s successful completion of ICAO safety audits. With no available slots at Heathrow, the airline has secured slots at London Gatwick (LGW) and is also considering Stansted as an alternative.

 

The new service from Entebbe to London Gatwick is set to begin by the end of 2024, marking a significant milestone for the airline.

 

Enhanced Regional Services

 

Currently, the airline’s wet-leased A320 serves key regional destinations, including Lagos, Nairobi, and Kinshasa, allowing for increased frequency on these routes. Uganda Airlines plans to extend the A320’s service to Johannesburg, overcoming the CRJ900’s capacity limitations for this distance. Approval from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is awaited to commence this route.

 

With these ambitious plans, Uganda Airlines is poised to become a more influential player in the international aviation arena, offering expanded services and a modernized fleet to its passengers.

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