Kampala. The third CRJ-900 bombardier aircraft is expected in the country next month while the forth will arrive in September, Works and Transport Minister Monica Azuba, has said.
The two aircrafts are part of the four CRJ-900s government ordered from Canada’s Bombardier Aerospace for the revival of Uganda Airlines.
Ms Azuba told Daily Monitor in an interview last Thursday that government had made “a 20 per cent pre-delivery payment” on each of the two remaining aircrafts but the full payments will be cleared in the new financial year starting next Monday.
Two of CRJ-900s, with registration numbers 5X-EQU and 5X-XOB which cost Shs154b ($41.55m), were delivered in April.
Ms Azuba said they plan to make additional payments on the two Airbus A330-800neos ordered from French aeronautics manufacturer, Airbus.
Government in the financial year ending next Monday made a down payment of Shs74b ($20m) on the two A330-800neos, which will be used for long haul flights.
The first two A330-800neo are expected to arrive in the country in December 2020, and the second in January 2021.
Out of the Shs6.5 trillion allocated to Works and Transport in the coming financial year, Shs575b will go the Uganda National Airlines Company for (Shs445b) payments of aircrafts and (Shs129b for) operations.
The CRJ-900s, with a sitting capacity of 76 passengers each, were specifically recommended in a feasibility study for revival of Uganda Airlines.
According to the study, after a comparative evaluation based on among others market suitability, aircraft cost, efficiency, and reliability, the CRJ-900s, which fly up to six hours, were deemed the most appropriate for the airlines’ revival, specifically to ply the regional market.
The regional market includes 18 destinations such as Nairobi, Kigali, Bujumbura, Goma, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Goma, Dar-es-Salaam, Mombasa, Kilmanjaro, Juba, Khartoum, Mogadishu, Hargeisa, Johannesburg, Addis Ababa, Lusaka, Harare, and Zanzibar. Currently there are three main competitors in this market Kenya Airways, which has the most frequency to Entebbe airport, Rwanda Air and Ethiopian Airlines.
The long haul flights are expected to commence between December 2020 and January 2021 when the Airbus A330-800neos are delivered.
The main competitors in the long haul market are Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, South African Airways, Emirates Airlines, KLM, Egyptair, Turkish airlines, and others. Some of the destinations in the long haul market include London, Dubai, Brussels, Doha, Mumbai, Lagos, and Johannesburg.
Ms Azuba said the target for the maiden commercial flight to Nairobi remains July despite the vast amount of work at hand, including finalisation of the certification process.
“The regulator (Civil Aviation Authority) is working very closely with the Airlines team to fast-track the certification process,” she said.
Consume: In the coming financial year, the works sector will consume 16.2 per cent of the Shs40.3 trillion budget; besides Uganda Airlines, Shs4.3 trillion will go to Uganda National Roads Authority, and Uganda Road Fund Shs476b.
UNRA’s allocation of Shs4.3 trillion, up from Shs3.1 trillion, is expected to mainly go to the “critical oil roads” in the Albertine Graben to facilitate the ongoing oil activities, and for tarmacking of 400 kilometres, rehabilitation of 200 kilometres national roads and 814 kilometres of district, urban and community access roads.