Uganda Airlines is looking to increase frequencies to Dubai on the rare Airbus A330-800, less than two weeks after the inaugural flight. Along with rising passenger numbers, the airline is also looking to make good use of its 37 tonnes of cargo space. Let’s find out more about the carrier’s plans.
According to The East African, Uganda Airlines is eying an increase in weekly flights on the flagship A330-800 route from Entebbe to Dubai. The carrier currently flies three weekly services but could move up to four or five looking at the current demand trend. The move comes exactly 11 days after the first flight to Dubai, on October 7th.
However, it seems Uganda has sensed a cargo and passenger opportunity on the route, especially along with its new agreement with Emirates. In a statement, Acting Chief Executive Jennifer Bamuturaki said,
“We are flying a 285-seater craft and on the first day, we flew just 80 people. The second day, we flew 220 passengers. You can only grow a route depending on the frequency you fly and the market reaction. We will stimulate the route to about four or five times a week.”
Dubai is Uganda Airlines’ first long-haul and intercontinental route, and the increased passenger load is a huge boost. The carrier also has a unilateral and codeshare agreement with Emirates, allowing passengers to fly either carrier on the EBB-DXB route and fly onward with Uganda to East Africa. Moreover, the airline is sensing another opportunity in a prime market right now.
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One of the perks of the A330neo is the 37 tonnes of cargo storage it offers in the belly of the aircraft. Uganda Airlines is making plans to take advantage of this space by offering connections into East Africa and across its network. Flying from a global hub like Dubai, there are several opportunities, Bamuturaki added,
“Cargo is still a work in progress. We believe it will grow because the aircraft’s capacity is 37 tonnes and our passengers are mainly traders…We are offering different cargo rates that offer value for money.”
With airlines globally signing codeshares and adding new destinations into Africa, Uganda has a chance to leverage its market. While it will be hard to challenge behemoths like Emirates and Qatar Airways, Uganda is hoping that its business passengers could be of some use in this department.
More to come
While Dubai might be the focus right now, Uganda Airlines has at least three more destinations lined up for the rare A330-800. The carrier plans to begin flying to London Heathrow in the near future, another major hub, followed by Mumbai and Guangzhou. All of these markets bring the dual benefit of cargo traffic and passengers, helping the airline expand.