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How the Uganda Airlines Airbus was secretly chartered to Seattle

The arrival of the plane in the USA was noticed by aviation enthusiasts, who were wondering on what mission the flight was on, in Iceland and the USA.

Uganda Airlines Airbus (Photo/File)

ENTEBBE, UGANDA: The Uganda Airlines Airbus which flew to Seattle, USA via Kefravik in Iceland, was chartered by a client of the national carrier, the Airlines Chief Executive officer Jenifer Bamuturaki revealed Sunday morning.

The arrival of the plane in the USA was noticed by aviation enthusiasts, who were wondering on what mission the flight was on, in Iceland and the USA.

Uganda Airlines Ag. Chief Executive, Bamuturaki confirmed it was their plane in the USA, saying it had been chartered for the flight. She says they are not at liberty to reveal who the client is, as per operational guidelines, but insists it was a charter.

“It was chartered. We operated to Seattle. It was a charter, by our client…we do charters by the way. We have been doing it since 2020, after lockdown we started again. We are never at liberty to reveal who our clients are,” said Bamuturaki.

She did not reveal the cost of the charter from Entebbe to Seattle, a distance of more than 8,300 nautical miles or 18 hours.

“As long as the Airbus is still on the ground, as we work on the routes it should do on schedule, the possible way to keep them off the ground is by charters,” she revealed.

On the cost of chartering an airbus to Seattle, she declined to tell, saying it is confidential information between them and the client, whether it is a public commercial flight or charter.

“That is our private stuff. I wonder if anyone calls KQ to find out what charter they did and what the cost is.”

Other sources indicate that the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanya was on the flight.

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The Airbus, one of the two of the kind owned by Uganda Airlines, has a sitting capacity of 252, and was purchased purposely for long-distance or international flights, while the smaller Bombardier aircraft operate regional routes.

The Airbus planes were delivered in December 2020 and February 2021 but since then only the Dubai route is being operated, with the processing of the other planned routes still ongoing.

Bamuturaki says the only way to keep the aircraft busy is to operate charters.

It is estimated that the one way journey is 563,000 US dollars or about sh2 billion, while industry rates show that an Airbus A330 neo costs 30,950 dollars per hour.

Bamuturaki says they will continue doing charters until the get the scheduled routes operational.

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Meanwhile, plans are underway for the planned routes and Bamuturaki explains that teams are being dispatched starting Monday to different countries on feasibility studies.

These routes include Mumbai, Heathrow, Kinshasa and Saudi Arabia and others in West Africa.

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