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Uganda Airlines Plans Major Expansion, Adds London Gatwick to Destinations

KAMPALA — Uganda Airlines, the national carrier of the Republic of Uganda, has announced ambitious plans to expand its international operations over the next five years. This strategy includes doubling its fleet and significantly increasing the number of destinations it serves.

By the end of this year, the airline will commence flights to London Gatwick, having secured valuable slots at the South London airport.

Currently, Uganda Airlines operates a modest fleet of six aircraft: four CRJ900LRs and two Airbus A330-800neos, in addition to an Airbus A320-200 wet-leased from South Africa’s Global Airways. Despite its limited fleet, the airline has made substantial strides since it began operations nearly five years ago.

In a recent interview with Simple Flying at the AviaDev Africa conference in Namibia, Adedayo Olawuyi, Uganda Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, outlined the airline’s growth strategy. “To ensure our survival and capitalize on the growth opportunities within Africa, we need to expand our fleet to at least 12 aircraft,”

Olawuyi stated. “Our goal is to double our fleet and potentially triple the number of destinations we serve in the next five years.”

The wet-leased A320 has been instrumental for Uganda Airlines, particularly on regional routes where the CRJ900 faces payload restrictions. The airline’s future plans include incorporating single-aisle aircraft into its fleet for long-term operations. To this end, Uganda Airlines has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for up to four Airbus A320neos after securing government approval.

Despite the optimism, there are logistical challenges. The earliest delivery date for brand new A320neos is projected for 2031.

In the interim, Uganda Airlines has approached aircraft lessors to lease the A320neos, aiming to acquire them with the airline’s preferred cabin configurations and colors.

Additionally, the airline is considering a finance lease, which would enable it to own the aircraft at the end of the leasing agreement.

With these strategic moves, Uganda Airlines is poised to enhance its presence in the competitive aviation market, leveraging its network to drive growth and increase connectivity.

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