Uganda Airlines 5X-NIL Airbus tests the ‘SKY’. On Thursday morning, Uganda Airlines sent one of its two rare Airbus A330-800neos on a demo flight from Entebbe to Johannesburg, South Africa where it will be flying four times a week. The flight is part of the process of securing an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) for the new and rather special wide-body aircraft.
The seven-month-old aircraft, registered as 5X-NIL, took off from Entebbe International Airport (EBB) with a limited number of passengers at 11:56 am local time on 12.08.21. Flight time between EBB and Johannesburg O.R Tambo International Airport (JNB) is just over four hours when it is operated by one of Uganda Airline’s CRJ-900s.
The airline has shared footage of the boarding process on its social media channels and a pictorial moment of the very first arrival of Uganda Airlines A330-800neo outside of the country’s borders on its maiden flight.
“It’s been a smooth and safe landing at O.R Tambo as the big bird #Airbus #A330neo took to the skies in a demonstration flight in the capable hands of Captain Francis Barros and Captain Pete Thomas. #FlyUgandaAirlines” the Airline tweeted. Click to view the post https://twitter.com/UG_Airlines/status/1425822246199693326
The A330-800neo aircraft have a detailed gorgeous interior with a three-class configuration; i.e. 20 lie-flat seats in business class, 28 seats in premium economy, and 210 in the main economy cabin with Ugandan meals and beverages served with attention and care from the airline’s attendants.
The Airline plans to operate its new aircraft to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia – in particular London, Dubai, and Guangzhou.
Earlier this year, the airline secured early morning landing slots at London Heathrow, and at the time, it had expected to gain certification for its new A330-800neo aircraft from the Ugandan authorities by the end of April.
The first of Uganda Airline’s A330-800neos was delivered in December last year (2020) and the second was set to follow in January 2021, but an internet blackout in Uganda caused the delivery to be pushed ahead until February 2nd. Both planes were ordered in 2019 as part of the carrier’s ambitious plan to expand beyond Africa.
Once the airline gains certification for the aircraft, it will be a complete game-changer in terms of route planning.
The airline, which officially commenced operations in August 2019, has a fleet consisting of four CRJ-900 regional jets.