UGANDA AIRLINES LONG DISTANCE CHOICE AIRCRAFT A330-800NEO NOW EASA AND FAA CERTIFIED
(Posted 14th February 2020)
(Photo courtesy of Airbus)
Uganda Airlines choice of aircraft for their long haul operations, due to commence in early 2021, has been the Airbus A330-800neo. The airline signed up for two such aircraft with the deliveries slotted in for late this year and the second one for early next year.
Good news was received from Airbus, which confirmed that the aircraft type, a major upgrade from the existing A330-200 and A330-300 models, has now received full EASA certification following the completion of the required pre-entry into service tests.
The A330-800 has received joint Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The aircraft’s certification flight-test campaign was successfully performed by aircraft MSN1888, which completed the programme in 370 flight test hours and 132 flights since its first flight in November 2018.
The A330-800, part of a true new-generation A330neo family, is the most efficient longest range entry-level widebody and incorporates new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, a new 3D-optimised wing and new Sharklets using lighter composite materials. Together, these advances bring a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 25 per cent compared with older generation competitor aircraft of similar size.
Certified initially with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 242 tonnes for a range capability of up to 7,500 nautical miles, the A330-800 will typically seat 220 to 260 passengers in three classes, or up to 406 travellers in a single-class high-density configuration. To date the A330neo Family has won 337 firm orders from 22 operators.
In the A330-800neo, passengers can expect the highest levels of comfort, with the aircraft featuring the award-winning Airspace by Airbus cabin with larger overhead storage, advanced cabin mood lighting and the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity. Operationally, the A330neo shares a common pilot type-rating with the larger A350 XWB, which facilitates minimum flight training cost and maximum pilot productivity. Maintenance personnel will also benefit from the aircraft’s new Skywise data connectivity features which will help them to predict potential issues before they arise, thus ensuring maximum productivity of the aircraft in revenue service.
The A330 is the most popular widebody family ever, operating over one million flights every year. It has received over 1,800 orders from 120 customers with 1,400 A330s currently in operation today. The A330neo is the latest addition to the leading Airbus widebody Family, which also includes the A350 XWB, featuring unmatched space and comfort combined with unprecedented efficiency levels and unrivalled range capability.
Uganda Airlines plans to deploy their two aircraft on initial long haul flights to London – airport yet to be named and subject to slot allocation – but there are indications that this particular flight might make a stop enroute at a major European airport in order to tap into a wider traffic potential for Uganda.
As there are no direct flights from Uganda to the UK and only two services from the European Union at present – from Brussels and from Amsterdam – would the addition of a third European gateway no doubt benefit the airline and the country.
Additional services are also planned for the long haul aircraft to India, and while the paperwork for China flights is also being processed will such flights only commence once present travel restrictions over health concerns have been resolved.
It is expected that the aircraft cabin layout will comprise a state of the art business class, a separate premium economy class cabin and an economy class cabin.
Meanwhile has Uganda Airlines confirmed plans for flights to Johannesburg and Kinshasa, to expand their route network to 10 destinations, a major boost for an airline which only in August last year took to the skies with their inaugural flight to Nairobi. Since then has Uganda Airlines added Juba, Mogadishu, Mombasa, Bujumbura, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.