CEO Uganda Airlines, Mr Ephraim Bagenda(Right) with Eric Schulz, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer

Uganda Airlines, the national carrier of Uganda, has signed a memorandum of understanding for two A330-800neo aircraft as it prepares to relaunch in the skies after spending almost 20 years hibernating.

The new aircraft, according to the airbus website cost $259.9M (shs971.4 billion) a piece.

The agreement was announced at Farnborough airshow by Ephraim Bagenda, CEO of Uganda Airlines and Eric Schulz, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer.

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Uganda Airlines plans to use the A330-800neos to build its international long-haul network with the aircraft offering cutting-edge technologies along with most efficient operations. The aircraft will feature a three-class cabin layout comprising 20 Business, 28 Premium Economy and 213 Economy seats.

“This agreement demonstrates our ambition for economic growth supported by a robust aviation industry. The A330-800neo combines low operating costs, long range flying capability and high levels of comfort. We are looking forward to launch operations and offer our customers best-in-class service, ”said Ephraim Bagenda, CEO of Uganda Airlines.

“We are delighted to welcome Uganda Airlines among our A330neo customers, the A330neo will bring a range of benefits offering unrivalled efficiencies combined with the most modern cabin. We look forward to see the A330-800neo flying in the colours of Uganda”, said Eric Schulz, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer.

The new version of the best-selling A330 widebody airliner, features new wings new Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines, new systems and a new Airspace cabin interior.According to the Airbus website, the jetliner is a more efficient aircraft that will generate savings through its reduced fuel burn.

The signing of the second agreement means Uganda has now procured six aircraft, having yesterday also signed a deal with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft to procure four new CRJ900 regional jets at US$190 (about Shs712.5 billion) with Uganda National Airlines Company that operates Uganda Airlines.

“We congratulate the Government of Uganda for the revival of its national flag carrier, and are thrilled that the new airline has selected Bombardier and the CRJ900 regional jets for its upcoming debut,” said Jean-Paul Boutibou, Vice President, Sales, Middle-East and Africa, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “Recognized for its superior economics and efficiency, the CRJ Series aircraft have enabled airlines worldwide to serve communities with better connectivity, and we look forward to supporting the development of Uganda’s regional air travel with these CRJ900 regional jets.”

Uganda Airlines will operate the CRJ900 in dual-class configuration with 76 seats, including 12 first class seats.

“We are delighted to have ordered the world’s leading regional jet, and we look forward to providing the most modern passenger experience in regional aviation to the people of Uganda and across Africa,” said Bagenda.

“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,” he said.

Launched in July 2014, the A330neo Family is the new generation A330, comprising two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900 sharing 99 percent commonality. It builds on the proven economics, versatility and reliability of the A330 Family, while reducing fuel consumption by about 25 percent per seat versus previous generation competitors and increasing range by up to 1,500 nm compared to the majority of A330s in operation.

The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines and features a new wing with increased span and new A350 XWB-inspired Sharklets. The cabin provides the comfort of the new Airspace amenities.