• Uganda has secured two Airbus A330-800Neo worth $20 million.
  • Monica Azuba Ntenge, Minister for Works and Transport, revealed that Uganda paid $10 million for each aircraft.
  • Another payment is due in October 2019 and a further one in October 2020, when the first A330 is expected to be handed over.

Uganda has secured two Airbus A330-800Neo worth $20 million as it moves to revive its national carrier, Air Uganda.

Monica Azuba Ntenge, Minister for Works and Transport, revealed on April 8 that the payment—$10 million for each aircraft—was made on April 5, firming up the order, which had been pending since July 2018.

Monica Azuba Ntenge, Uganda's Minister for Works and Transport

According to the minister, Uganda had to act fast or risk losing the order and any monies that had been deposited with Airbus, after missing the February 2019 deadline to deposit at least 30 percent of the purchase price.

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An Airbus A330-800neo engine

Ms Azuba said the payment too saved Uganda from price escalation and the $0.8 million which it had already paid to Airbus in commitment fees last August, shortly after Uganda Airlines signed a memorandum for the purchase of the smallest variant of the redesigned A330. According to Airbus, the A330-800 – one of two A330neo versions, along with the A330-900 – is a more efficient aircraft that will generate savings through its reduced fuel burn.

Airbus A330-800neo.

The A330-800 typically will seat 257 passengers in three classes of service, while offering capacity for up to 406 travellers in a high-density configuration. The jetliner incorporates the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, along with multiple aerodynamic improvements. 

A330neo Airspace by Airbus. (Runway Girl)

Ms Azuba added that the Ugandan order is expected to appear in Airbus’ sales figures for April.

Another payment is due in October 2019 and a further one in October 2020, when the first A330 is expected to be handed over. The other one is expected in early 2021.

Airspace by Airbus

Uganda Airlines plans to use the two aircraft for the second phase of its growth plan, with flights to the United Kingdom and the Far East. Uganda Airlines is scheduled to start commercial services in June and has announced plans to operate 19 intra-African routes in the first phase.

Cabin interior for the Airbus A330-800neo

Ephraim Bagenda, the interim chief executive, says during this period, the carrier will negotiate interline agreements and code-share with some of the bigger foreign airlines operating into Entebbe, to offer onward lift to transit passengers across its network.