Delivery of the first A330-800 to Uganda Airlines is edging closer. Today, the airline has revealed photographs of the stunning interior onboard the plane, which will feature three classes of cabins, including a fully lie-flat business class. Let’s take a tour.
Uganda gearing up for A330-800 delivery
The rare A330-800 has not sold well with airlines, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. In fact, it makes these special baby neo widebodies even more interesting to those of us with love for unusual planes. Uganda Airlines is set to be the world’s second operator of the type, following the delivery to Kuwait Airways in October of the world’s first.
For Uganda Airlines, the arrival of the A330-800 will be a gamechanging moment. The relatively new startup is aiming to fill an almost two-decade-long void in direct connections to the East African nation, offering flights to key destinations around the world from its home at Entebbe.
Last month, the first A330-800neo for the airline was spotted emerging from the paint shop. Today, Uganda Airlines has shared some stunning photos of its Airspace interior and the products passengers can expect onboard. Let’s take a look.
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Economy and premium economy
According to reports in ATCNews, the aircraft will have a total of 210 economy seats. These are laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration and feature adjustable headrests, finished in leather, and IFE screens at every seat.
Entertainment will be provided by Inflight Dublin, the largest content service provider in Africa. The provider recently signed a five-year contract to supply IFE to Uganda Airlines, which will include Hollywood movies, TV Shows, boxsets, music, games, and publications.
Most excitingly, Uganda Airlines will offer a true premium economy product onboard also. 28 seats are located in a separate cabin, with more legroom, larger IFE screens and laid out in a generous 2-3-2 arrangement.
The color pallet chosen by Uganda Airlines is unusual but makes a refreshing change from the sea of charcoal and dark blues we’re used to seeing in cabins today. The Airspace cabin comes complete with adjustable mood lighting, with limitless options for creating ambiance in the cabin.
The business class cabin has just 20 seats, and is stunning in terms of colors and finishes. The business class seat of choice appears to be the Stelia Opal, a product that was quietly launched on fellow African airline Air Senegal’s A330-900 early last year.
Looks to me like @STELIAAEROSPACE Opal in business class on the new Air Sénégal, one of the new generation of compact staggered business class seats we're seeing a lot of at the moment: https://t.co/pjpKfSU3qg #PaxEx https://t.co/KNBdkwW1fG
— John Walton 🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@thatjohn) January 17, 2019
The Opal is a capable business class product, designed for a 1-2-1 configuration with a standard 40.5” of pitch. Its staggered arrangement allows for a bed of 76.5”, but there’s flexibility here. For every extra inch of pitch the seats are given, passengers get an extra two inches of bed length.
This gives airlines a unique opportunity to configure the cabin according to their needs. Going for the lowest seat pitch can allow more rows to be installed, while those wanting to give passengers a decent bed length can opt for more pitch but fewer seats.
While we can’t tell exactly what Uganda has gone for here, it’s a pretty small cabin with just five rows of seats. With one extra row in economy over Kuwait Airways’ A330-800, the 20 business class seats compare to Kuwait’s 32, suggesting Uganda Airlines has been fairly generous with the accommodation.
Where will it fly?
Uganda Airlines has revealed some starting destinations for its A330neo, which will focus initially on London, Dubai and Guangzhou. These long-haul routes are a step-change for the airline, which will be the first Ugandan airline to fly beyond Africa for more than 18 years.
The first route to launch will be Entebbe (EBB) to London Heathrow (LHR), which will begin in early 2021. Mumbai will be added as the second neo arrives in Uganda. It’s exciting times for the African carrier, and could see a renewed interest in tourism to the nation as direct connections become available for the first time since the collapse of its predecessor.
Are you excited to see the arrival of Uganda Airlines’ A330-800? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.