Airbus has rolled off the assembly line Uganda’s A330-800neo which has already taken to the skies for multiple testing before it can be handed to the East African country soon in December.
With this as another addition to Uganda’s young national carrier revived recently after three decades is expected to trigger competition among the regional airline industry.
The aircraft will be one of the first A330-800neo aircraft to enter service, Airbus’ latest A330 variant to date. Uganda has made orders for two airbuses.
Uganda’s nation carrier which launched operations in August of 2019 has been relying only on a fleet of just four Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft flying to nearby destinations including flights to Tanzania, Burundi and Kenya.
The A330-800neo aircraft could be lined up for long haul destinations especially to Dubai, Mumbai, Guangzhou and London. The first route to launch will be Entebbe (EBB) to London Heathrow (LHR), which will begin in early 2021. Mumbai will be added as the second neo arrives in Uganda.
According to the Uganda government, the carrier is scheduled to configure its new planes with three classes, including 20 business class, 28 premium economy and 213 economy class seats, for a total of 261.
Last month, Airbus delivered two aircrafts with similar specifications to Kuwait. The two planes with space for 235 passengers each were flown from Airbus’ production site in Toulouse, France, to Kuwait City.
Airbus has only 10 orders of the A330-800neo variant- two orders from Uganda and Kuwait Airways holds orders for the remaining eight aircraft, and hopes to enter them into service in the near future.
This the A330-800neo variant joins a fleet of Airbus A320, A320neo, A330-200 and Boeing 777-300ER.
However, this A330-800 is the smaller of the two A330neo versions on offer. It performed its first flight back in November 2018 and was certified by the EASA and FAA in February this year.
Airbus has struggled to find a decent amount of orders for it, as most airlines have so far opted for the slightly larger A330-900, which has gained a total of 318 orders as of September, compared to just 14 for the -800.