UGANDA – Uganda’s national carrier Uganda Airlines received Bombardier CRJ 900 aircrafts, passenger planes, continues to revive the national carrier.

It brings the number up to four planes, the first two having arrived in April this year. In the months to come, the airline will spread out its operational tentacles to the international landscape with the addition of two Airbuses.

The much larger, long-haul jets are expected late next year and at the beginning of 2021.

Before the arrival of the third and fourth Bombardier planes, the airline has been limited to nearer destinations – Nairobi (Kenya), Bujumbura (Burundi), Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Juba (South Sudan) and Mogadishu (Somalia).

But now, the carrier will widen its route network to reach many other destinations in central and southern Africa, according to the airlines’ chief executive Cornwel Muleya.

Metropolises including Kinshasa (DR Congo), Asmara (Eritrea), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Lusaka (Zambia) and Harare (Zimbabwe) are targeted.

It is understood that Uganda Airlines was the first African nation to fly Bombardier’s CRJ900 aircraft, fitted with new Atmosphere cabin.

Uganda Airlines was relaunched in August, with the country eager to take a slice of the region’s growing aviation business that is currently dominated by Ethiopian Airlines.

The state carrier was founded in 1976 by former dictator Idi Amin but liquidated in 2001 during a broader push to sell off struggling state-owned firms.

Uganda Airlines is currently running a two-month-long promotional campaign with subsidised fares.

The new planes were inspected upon arrival by state minister for Works, Gen Katumba Wamala and other government and aviation officials. The planes received the ceremonial water salute upon arrival at Entebbe

While launching the first two CRJ 900 aircrafts in August, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the carrier’s revival would “reduce the cost of air transport and ease connectivity to and from Uganda.”

Meanwhile, in his message delivered by Wamala, President Museveni said getting to where the new-look carrier has reached today has been a “long journey of hard work, commitment and success”.

“We have to work together to support our airline. The planes were successfully tested and rendered fit to fly in the skies,” he said.

Uganda Airlines CEO Muleya said the planes have come “equipped with more luggage space, wider seats and ambient lighting”.

He is overseeing an airline operating both cargo and passenger services, with scheduled and non-scheduled flights within the East African region and near-international markets.