The first two Bombardier jets for the revived Uganda Airlines are scheduled to arrive in the country in the first week of April according the acting Uganda Airlines CEO Ephraim Bagenda.
Bagenda said on Monday that the remaining two Bombardier jets will be delivered in July and September respectively. Last year, Uganda ordered for four CRJ900 regional jets with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, as part of the much-anticipated plan for the revival of Uganda Airlines.
The first jet was supposed to have been delivered in January this year, but government kept pushing forward the arrival time. Eventually when the first two jets arrive, Bagenda said Uganda Airlines will start the certification process which will take about two months.
“When they arrive, we shall start the certification process. You know there is that certificate we get from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) called air operator certificate. That process takes about two months or more in readiness for commercial launch, hopefully at the end of June,” he said.
Bagenda said 12 pilots and 12 co-pilots have already been hired - all Ugandans.
“All of them are Ugandans and some of them have completed their training and some of them are still undergoing training. We have got 24 captains; 12 captains and 12 first officers or co-pilots,” he said.
Uganda Airline first Bombardier CRJ-900 hit the skies for the first test flight from Montreal Mirabel international airport, Canada on February 17, 2019. An 8-minute video clip was uploaded on YouTube showing the test flight. The video clip triggered excitement among Ugandans.
Uganda Airlines will start with 12 regional destinations. They include; Nairobi, Mombasa, Goma, Zanzibar, Dar es Salam, Harare, Mogadishu, Kigali, Kilimanjaro and Addis Ababa. Uganda’s revived airline will be the first carrier to operate the new CRJ-series Atmosphere cabin in Africa. The airline will operate the CRJ900 in dual-class configuration with 76 economy seats and 12 first class seats.
According to the manufacturer, the new model Atmosphere cabin sets new standards of passenger experience in the regional jet market segment. Key features of the new interior comprise of larger passenger living space, wheel-first roller bag capability, more spacious lavatory, increased cabin connectivity options, all integrated into a contemporary design and material choices.
Atmosphere cabin design allows passengers to carry and store an "oversized" roller bag within the aircraft cabin bins which minimizes the need to check bags at the counter or the gate.