Uganda Airlines Takes Delivery Of Rare Airbus A330-800

On Monday, Uganda’s revived national airline took delivery of its first Airbus A330-800. As Airbus has sold only 14 of the shorter variant of the A330neo, it makes the occasion, which Uganda Airlines’ CEO called a “historic day” for the carrier, even that more special.

Uganda A330neo
Uganda Airlines took delivery of its first out of two A330neos on Monday. Photo: Airbus

On December 21st, Uganda Airlines took delivery of a very rare aircraft –  the A330-800. This is also the first Airbus jet to be delivered to the Ugandan flag-carrier, re-established only a little over a year ago.

East Africa’s youngest national airline revival has one more of the elusive widebodies on order. The second A330-800 is on schedule for delivery in January 2021.

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Will help the airline make modern history

Uganda Airlines intends to deploy its new acquisition and its sister aircraft waiting in the wings on routes from Entebbe to London, Dubai, and Guangzhou. This will make it the first Ugandan airline to fly beyond the African continent in 18 years.

In a statement released Monday, the airline said the delivery heralded a new era in its operations and that it marked the carrier’s re-entry into the long-haul overseas market.

“This is a historic day in the history of Uganda Airlines. We are excited about the delivery of the new A330neo which strengthens our fleet capabilities and introduces the desired service standards for our long-haul operations,” said Mr Cornwell Muleya, CEO of Uganda Airlines, in the statement seen by Simple Flying.

While the light on the day of delivery might not have done it justice entirely, the A330-800 looks stunning in the Ugandan flag-carrier’s livery. The following tweet from the day the plane rolled out from the paint shop shows it off from a better vantage point and with slightly clearer skies.

Uganda A330-800 business class
Uganda Airlines A330-800 looks as good on the inside as it does without. Photo: Uganda Airlines

Beautiful interior with proper premium economy

It is not just the plane’s exterior that is beautiful; it has an equally gorgeous cabin to boot. The plane features a three-class layout, including a fully lie-flat business class.

It has a total of 210 economy seats in a 2-4-2 layout. Each seat features IFE screens and adjustable dark orange leather headrests. Premium economy has 28 seats, more legroom, and is configured in 2-3-2, delivering a marked difference from further back in the plane.

Business class is limited to 20 fully reclinable seats in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, although the exact pitch for this part of the cabin – and thus the exact length of the bed, remain unconfirmed. In total, the aircraft features 258 seats.

Kuwait Airways was the A330-800 launch customer and is already operating the plane commercially. Photo: Airbus

Part of a very small club

Airbus has only sold 14 of the -800 version of the A330neo compared to 318 of the A330-900, making news of its deliveries a rarity indeed. The shorter version of the A330neo was first delivered to launch customer Kuwait Airways in October.

Meanwhile, not only one but two A330-800s arrived in Kuwait City at the same time. The airline operated the first-ever commercial flight with the jet to Dubai on November 20th. Kuwait Airlines has an order for a total of eight of the aircraft.

Would you like to fly on Uganda Airlines’ A330neo? Let us know in the comments.