Airbus and Uganda Airlines, the country’s national airline in northeast Africa, released a few more images of the painting of the first of the two new A330-800neo ordered by the African company. The photo shows the aircraft leaving the Airbus paint shop in Toulouse, France. An earlier image had been recorded in September this year under the lens of a local spotter, but it showed the jet still unpainted.
The painting highlights, on the tail of the Airbus, the colored bands in black, yellow and red, the country’s official identity, in addition to the coat of arms with the crowned crane, bird symbol of Uganda. The proposal is for the aircraft to be delivered by the manufacturer to the operator by December, two months later than originally planned.
According to the Ugandan Independent newspaper, Uganda Airlines plans to use the two A330-800s ordered from Airbus to build a medium- and long-haul network, with high-tech aircraft and more efficient and economical operations.
Great news! Our new @Airbus A330-800 is out of the paintshop. Getting ready to join our fleet.
Let the count down begin… pic.twitter.com/rauWSzy01W
– Uganda Airlines (@UG_Airlines) October 16, 2020
In an interview with the newspaper, the company’s acting CEO, Cornwell Muleya, said he plans to start international flights next year. “Our goal is to receive the aircraft at least until December, so that at the beginning of the new year we can start our operations,” said the executive. “Our main objective is to have three international connections, which are Dubai, London, and also in the Chinese market, in Guangzhou,” he added.
Uganda Airlines currently has four Bombardier CRJ 900s, which have operated eight regional routes since August 2019. The aircraft were ordered in 2018 along with the two A330-800neo that are in the final stage of manufacture.
The Airbus A330neo is a new widebody, twin-engine, turbofan aircraft, which was developed by Airbus to replace the Airbus A330. Launched in July 2014, the A330neo Family consists of two versions: A330-800 and A330-900.
With only eleven units sold to second-tier companies, one for Air Greenland, two for Uganda Airlines and eight for Kuwait’s national airline, the A330-800neo struggled to get off the ground. With the delay in certification, Airbus was unable to follow its original schedule of delivering the first unit in April, and now plans new dates in the fourth quarter.