Three world’s top manufacturers of aircraft are jostling to supply six aircraft that Uganda Airlines is seeking to add to its fleet.
The trio – Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer from Brazil – are said to have submitted their bids to the authorities last week, who also included officials from the Ministry of Works and Transport and Uganda Civil Aviation Authority.
The chief executive officer of Uganda Airlines, Ms. Jenifer Bamuturaki, is quoted by The EastAfrican newspaper as confirming the meetings.
“Everyone is pitching: Airbus is pitching, Boeing is pitching and Embraer is pitching, but as Uganda Airlines, what we are interested in is a mid-range aircraft,” she is quoted as saying.
Uganda Airlines is currently using Airbus’ A330-800neo which has a capacity of 257 seats and the 76-seat Mitsubishi CRJ-900.
However, the Uganda national carrier is said to favour planes that have a capacity of 100-plus seat due to the ever-changing passenger numbers on different routes. However, the six planes will be bought in two installments of three each.
In their meeting with Ugandan officials, Airbus is said to have offered its A321-LR and A321-XLR aircraft, which have capacities of between 180 and 220.
On the other hand, Boeing is said to have offered its B737 Max family. For instance, the Max-7 has a maximum seating capacity of 172 passengers and can travel in a range of 3,850 nautical miles. The Max-8 has a capacity of 220 passengers and can travel in a range of 3,550 nautical miles.
Embraer produces E-Jet aircraft that have the smaller E170 and E175 and the bigger E190 and E195 versions. The E170 typically seats around 72 passengers, while the E175 typically seats around 78 passengers. The E190/195 models can carry up to 100 passengers in a two-class configuration or up to 124 in a single-class high-density configuration.
Uganda Airlines is said to be in need of aircraft that will suit their passenger profiles on the different routes. For instance, some of the seats on the 257-capacity A330 plane, which plies the Dubai route, are always empty, meaning they prefer a smaller capacity plane.
But also for some routes, the 76-seat Mitsubishi CRJ-900 is not big enough.
Ms. Bamuturaki is also quoted as saying that are interested in an aircraft that can adequately serve the bigger routes such as Dubai, London, those in West Africa, and Mumbai, which are expected to launch soon.
“We want an aircraft that can do Dubai, Mumbai, or London when we have low loads. We also want a mid-range one on those routes where the A330 is either too big or unavailable,” she is quoted as saying.
It is not immediately clear when the bidding process is expected to be complete.
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