The national airline of Uganda is searching for a mid-market aircraft to bridge the gap between its Airbus A330 widebodies and regional Bombardier CRJ900s.
Airbus and Boeing, two industry heavyweights, are keeping an eye on a potential contract from Uganda Airlines. The EastAfrican stated that officials from both manufacturers traveled to Kampala this week to negotiate with the Ugandan flag carrier over a potential six-jet contract.
Plans for fleet expansion
In order to fill the gap between its two Airbus A330-800 widebodies and four regional Bombardier CRJ900s, Uganda Airlines, which now runs a very polar fleet, is looking for a mid-range aircraft. Because of its delayed network expansion and high operational costs on low-demand, mid-range routes, the airline has had trouble turning a profit during the previous few years.
It is now the perfect time for a fleet redevelopment if Ugandan Airlines is to achieve its target of breaking even by 2027. For the fiscal year ending in 2022, the airline recorded a total $72 million deficit, up over $27 million from 2021.
The airline, the Ministry of Works and Transport, and Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority are all receiving pitches from representatives of Airbus, Boeing, and the less well-known Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, according to Chief Executive Jennifer Bamuturaki, who confirmed the information to a local news outlet.
“Everyone’s taking pitches. As Uganda Airlines, we are interested in a mid-range aircraft, according to Bamuturaki, who spoke to The EastAfrican. Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer are all making pitches.
“We need a plane that can fly to Dubai, Mumbai, or London when the load is light. We also want a mid-sized one for the routes where the A330 is either too big or not available.
Although Uganda Airlines was contacted for more information, it has not answered as of the time of publication.
the process of contrasting possibilities
The necessary aircraft will be used by Uganda Airlines’ short- to medium-haul network and will also act as the company’s mainstay for its cargo operations.
The 737 MAX series is most certainly Boeing’s contender. With a higher capacity than its European rival, the narrowbody family is frequently a preferred option for combined cargo and passenger operations. The MAX series is also 20% more fuel efficient than earlier generations and has 14% reduced airframe maintenance costs, making it a very economical choice.
The A320neo series and the slightly smaller A220 are the two types that Airbus offers. The airline is able to offer lower capacity services from its hub at Entebbe International Airport (EBB) across the entire African continent as well as into the Middle East and southern Europe thanks to the A321neo and upcoming A321XLR’s significantly increased range compared to the MAX, at 4,000 and 4,700 NM, respectively.
The aircraft would probably be a fantastic fit for Uganda Airlines’ Entebbe-Dubai (DBX) and Entebbe-Johannesburg (JNB) flights, which the airline previously criticized for having excessive operating expenses with the Airbus A330. Consider smaller jets
Due to its great economics and low emissions, the Airbus A220, while being a little smaller choice, has swiftly become a favorite in the aviation industry. Nearly 800 orders have already been placed for the aircraft, including ones from African airlines Air Senegal, Ibom Air, Air Tanzania, and EgyptAir.
The adaptable jet might help Uganda Airlines cut fleet and crew costs if used on both regional and medium-haul trips, but with a range of 3800 NM, destinations like Dubai would unfortunately be on the extreme edge of its operating limits.
The E190-E2 and E195-E2 aircraft from Embraer might also be used in the mix, despite having a smaller capacity than some Airbus and Boeing choices. With 146 seats available in its highest-density configuration, the bigger E195-E2 offers roughly twice the capacity of Uganda Airlines’ current CRJ900s. The E190-E2 and E195-E2 offer 2,850 and 2,655 NM, respectively, making the aircraft a good choice for well-liked regional operations but an improbable choice for the carrier.