Uganda has signed a contract with Canadian plane manufacturer Bombardier for four new CRJ900 jets, underling its desire to have back a national airline operating aircraft in the region competitive aviation industry.
The deal will cost the Uganda National Airlines Company US$190 million (about Shs 712.5 billion)
Speaking after signing the contract, Ephraim Bagenda, CEO, Uganda Airlines said, the company was delighted to have ordered the aircraft.
“As we were establishing Entebbe as a strong hub in East Africa and building more connectivity in Africa, we thoroughly reviewed our needs. With its proven track record in Africa and other regions of the world, we are confident that the CRJ900 aircraft will help us succeed,” Bagenda said.
Jean-Paul Boutibou, Vice President, Sales, Middle -East and Africa Bombardier Commercial Aircraft said lauded the government of Uganda for reviving the national airline
“We …are thrilled that the new airline has selected Bombardier and the CRJ900 regional jets for its upcoming debut, “he said.
Bombardier has supplied planes of the same range to Uganda’s neighbours like Rwanda. Uganda Airlines is expected to operate the CRJ900 in dual-class configuration with 76 seats, including 12 first class seats.
The deal comes after finance minister Matia Kasaija confirmed in the 2018/19 budget that it was finalizing plans to acquire the aircraft. Uganda is the only country in the region without a national carrier.
However, as the country embarks on reviving the national carrier, regional statistics show that some of the airlines are making losses.
When operations start, the national airline will have to compete with others like Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airways, Rwandair.
Uganda Airlines Corporation was liquidated in May 2001 due to many debts that chased away investors.