Uganda Airlines A330-800neo Flies To Seattle Via Iceland

Uganda Airlines A330-800neo Flies To Seattle Via Iceland

76

Seattle saw an unusual airline visitor on Friday, and now we know what the purpose of this flight was.

Uganda Airlines’ flight to Seattle

Uganda Airlines is an interesting new airline, which operates a young fleet of two Airbus A330-800neos plus four Bombardier CRJ-900ERs. The A330-800neo is an incredibly rare jet, as very few airlines ordered it (the A330-900neo has proven much more popular).

Currently Uganda Airlines’ only scheduled A330-800neo destination is Dubai, and the airline eventually plans to fly to London as well. However, over the past few days one of Uganda Airlines’ A330s operated quite a journey.

Specifically, Uganda Airlines’ A330 with the registration code 5X-NIL flew all the way to Seattle:

  • On Thursday, February 3, 2022, Uganda Airlines flew from Entebbe (EBB) to Keflavik (KEF) in a flight time of 10hr42min
  • On Friday, February 4, 2022, Uganda Airlines flew from Keflavik (KEF) to Seattle (SEA) in a flight time of 7hr28min
  • It would appear that the plane just refueled in Iceland, as it was only on the ground for a few hours
Uganda Airlines’ routing to Seattle

Interestingly the flight was operated with the flight number UR2. Ordinarily Uganda Airlines’ flights operate with flight numbers in the UR4XX range, so that was different than usual.

Some avgeeks managed to get pictures of the plane in Seattle.

https://twitter.com/SamSenono/status/1489869369110839300

The plane continues to be parked in Seattle as of Sunday, and I’m curious to see how long it stays there. I’m keeping an eye on the tail number to see when it departs.

Uganda Airlines’ A330-800neo business class

What was the purpose of Uganda Airlines’ flight?

When I first wrote about this flight on Saturday, I pointed out that we didn’t know what the purpose of this unusual journey was, and representatives from the airline weren’t providing any details either. So I shared a few theories:

  • Could this be some sort of vaccine or coronavirus-related flight? It doesn’t make much sense to me that the airline would fly as far as Seattle for a trip like this, but who knows…
  • Is Uganda Airlines flying executives to Seattle to go plane shopping? It’s kind of funny to show up in Boeing’s territory with one of Airbus’ newest aircraft
  • Is this some sort of other government and/or “prestige” trip, where someone from the government needed or wanted to go to Seattle, so this special flight was operated?

I pointed out how I thought that maybe someone important was onboard based on the use of the UR2 flight number. While it could have been a coincidence, that at least seems like it was intended to be used as a “prestigious” flight number.

Well, now we have a sense of what the purpose of this flight was. Ugandan media is reporting that the speaker of parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, was flown to Seattle for medical treatment. He has apparently been ill for months, and was discharged from a Ugandan hospital shortly before taking this flight to the United States. Details around his health condition otherwise aren’t really known.

Based on this information, I have a few further thoughts:

  • I wonder if the A330-800neo will just stay in Seattle until he’s better and then fly him back; if you’re traveling to the other side of the globe for medical treatment, it seems like it could take a while
  • Using an A330-800neo to transport a single person to the other side of the globe is incredibly inefficient; even if he wanted to fly private, there are lots of capable and smaller jets that could have made the journey
  • I’m curious if the motivation for using the A330-800neo was simply that this was a last minute emergency and this was what was available, or if this was in part prestige, and that someone so powerful in the government should be flying the nation’s flagship aircraft for treatment
Uganda Airlines’ A330-800neo economy class

Bottom line

A Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800neo landed in Seattle on Friday afternoon. This was the first time a Uganda Airlines plane flew to the United States, so that’s cool to see.

At first I was curious about what the purpose of this flight was, and we now have our answer. The speaker of parliament in Uganda is ill, and needed specialized medical treatment, so was rushed to Seattle on this plane. The plane continues to sit on the ground in Seattle, and I’m curious to see how long it remains there.

What do you make of this Uganda Airlines A330-800neo flight to Seattle?

Conversations (76)
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  1. Alexander Muttundu Guest

    I am from kenyan and I am not amused by wanton use of public funds in uganda our neighbours. Like many African nations the have ran down the health facilities and now use the public facilities to fly officials to the other side of the world. Dont they have Accountants to do simple costing? Infact an idle aircraft in a busy airport for two weeks is just too expensive. And by the way they could...

    I am from kenyan and I am not amused by wanton use of public funds in uganda our neighbours. Like many African nations the have ran down the health facilities and now use the public facilities to fly officials to the other side of the world. Dont they have Accountants to do simple costing? Infact an idle aircraft in a busy airport for two weeks is just too expensive. And by the way they could have airlifted him to Nairobi for treatment or booked a KQ flight to New York.

  2. Isaac Guest

    Pray for us. Uganda and other African countries are in real problems.
    We are spending almost 1million USD to treat one person, but can't improve our health system. If all the top officials got sick, you can imagine the sizeable amount our governments are willing to spend.
    Ask for $2,000 USD to provide underground water to vulnerable communities, it can't be done...no money ..but flying these people. In the last week we have...

    Pray for us. Uganda and other African countries are in real problems.
    We are spending almost 1million USD to treat one person, but can't improve our health system. If all the top officials got sick, you can imagine the sizeable amount our governments are willing to spend.
    Ask for $2,000 USD to provide underground water to vulnerable communities, it can't be done...no money ..but flying these people. In the last week we have spent over $1milliom USD on treating and returning the body of the Governor, then some former minister for integrity with burial costs of $160,000..and all these guys are in bad health so by the end of the year we would have spent close to $52m on these people.
    Some animals are more equal than others.

  3. Embata Guest

    I am a Ugandan and I am here to tell you to mind your business.
    Thanks for the concerns though.

  4. Ricky James Guest

    Most of the corporates in the Uganda's government have been sanctioned by the EU countries and that could have been the reason why they are trying to hide away from the it to try some distant alternative. Aboard the plane they were more than 11 unknown passengers most of whom were some top govt officials. But really knows the truth why they decided to use a bigger and costly plane like this one. There must be some hidden agenda in it.

  5. Mich Kula Guest

    Ugandan media says the Ugandan parliament paid at least $500,000/= to the airline to charter the plane for a oneway trip
    https://observer.ug/news/headlines/72671-parliament-paid-shs-1-7bn-for-speaker-oulanyah-charter-flight-to-us

  6. Maurice Guest

    That would be so cool if they started a flight route to Africa and back that would make so much better. I travel to Africa a lot

  7. Leigh Guest

    I think it a huge/irrational expense for a developing country (they could have gotten him to Seattle much cheaper)…but I wish the man well. We should never wish bad for anyone.

    Said as a gay man who hates Uganda for its anti LGBTQ laws….

  8. Patrick Safari Guest

    Not cost effective should have flown sick man to dubai since hey have equally good medical facilities

  9. Kalaloch101 Guest

    Seattle has extraordinary specialized treatment facilities, particularly in the area of cancer and related diseases. Important public and private figures have been coming to the city for decades for treatment, so it doesn't surprise me.

    1. Isaac Guest

      Lol...but this man has been terribly sick from last year, whatever it is,it is in its final stages.
      They should have checked first what treatment is require.

  10. Real Ugandan Guest

    Following the footsteps of her old Uganda Airlines big sister M7's corrupt rwandese fake government caused the problems of the old Uganda Airlines which led to its downfall, now history is repeating itself

  11. ERIC OPEDUN Guest

    It wasn't UgANDAn nationals on board , it's there to pick tourists to visit UgANDA

  12. AlkiBean Guest

    I live in Seattle and know the medical system here pretty well. I'm not sure what treatment was available here that is not available anywhere else. There's a well-respected cancer center (Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) and the University of Washington does many clinical trials. They are also the only medical center in the US that is offering a very promising new type of radiation therapy called Neutron Radiation.

  13. Nelson Guest

    This is just another disgusting thing happening in the so called African "poor" countries! Poor? Yes for its inhabitants. Time wasn't sure an issue! I'm in the business and when I need I have within 2 hours a Jet at my disposition. That's just less than the time it took them to stop at KEF because there must be Jets that can fly that Route Non Stop.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      The jet that politician was on can fly that route nonstop.
      Neither time or money was the issue.

      And just to top your brag. I live near a large airport, I have a Jets at my disposal within 1 hour as long as pre-check is open and TSA isn't a trainee. :)

  14. Fritz Guest

    The flightplan to and from KEF was filed as an military flightplan with special conditions.

  15. DenB Diamond

    I bet a few of Uganda's gay people wish they could have hitched a ride, since the plane was going anyway. The situation for gay people in Uganda makes Russia look like Key West.

  16. apollo arinaitwe Guest

    The speaker of parliament is an important person in government and should thus be treated at whatever cost.

    1. Muni. Muni Guest

      Ssebo on who's account nd bill ??? Do u know how much date we are in coz of Such pple who think the country is their big pocket they cn spend as they want ..China is taking our Airport most gov't owned companies hve been sold off nd u know why ? Its coz of these pple eating all the moni as Ugandans are dying ..but dis GOD IS A GOOD GOD .. OOH and...

      Ssebo on who's account nd bill ??? Do u know how much date we are in coz of Such pple who think the country is their big pocket they cn spend as they want ..China is taking our Airport most gov't owned companies hve been sold off nd u know why ? Its coz of these pple eating all the moni as Ugandans are dying ..but dis GOD IS A GOOD GOD .. OOH and ever since he was chosen to be Speaker he's always in hospitals today Kenya tomorrow India but not ever in Uganda hospitals coz they know wats ther no beds no medicines hospitals are in bad state...but u can run to all best hospitals but only GOD has the right to yo living nd if HE has NO u follow the Governor who recently passed on .

  17. Cody- Guest

    Also, there are many aircraft/airline suppliers in the Seattle-Everett area. I've seen Airbus aircraft in Seattle at Boeing field & other area locations many times & thought nothing of it. All came for the suppliers in Washington State. At least that is what was told to me when I asked.

  18. Junior Mwesigwa Guest

    I have confirmed that the airline flew the speaker of parliament of Uganda who has been bedridden since last year. He needed more medical attention.

  19. Dictator_Watch Guest

    Can some expert estimate for us the cost of this medical evacuation flight on a A330

  20. Mark B in Sydney Guest

    So, let’s say flight time was roughly 18 hours @ US$35,000 per hour on a dry lease (assuming the government provides the crew etc for ‘free’) …so the lease value component is about $630,000. When you think the GDP of the US is 77 times that of Uganda, this would be like the US spending $48m to send Nancy Pelosi off for medical treatment. Just to put some relativity to it. You’d think a corporate...

    So, let’s say flight time was roughly 18 hours @ US$35,000 per hour on a dry lease (assuming the government provides the crew etc for ‘free’) …so the lease value component is about $630,000. When you think the GDP of the US is 77 times that of Uganda, this would be like the US spending $48m to send Nancy Pelosi off for medical treatment. Just to put some relativity to it. You’d think a corporate jet like a Gulfstream G650 would be much more cost effective and less international embarrassment for such largesse. It’s hard to feel sorry for these countries that readily seek aid when they act so grossly irresponsibly. There may be mitigating circumstances I don’t have all the facts so this is based on what I’m reading here.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      @Mark B in Sydney

      You're getting it all wrong.

      First 18 hours is just one way, so x2 and make it $1,260,000.
      You shouldn't bring Nancy into this either, a better relativity is feeding the population.
      Per Unicef, $18 can provide essential food for a family of 5 for a week.
      That's 70,000 week of food for a family of 5. Or roughly 100 people their entire lifetime.

      And in context Jeff...

      @Mark B in Sydney

      You're getting it all wrong.

      First 18 hours is just one way, so x2 and make it $1,260,000.
      You shouldn't bring Nancy into this either, a better relativity is feeding the population.
      Per Unicef, $18 can provide essential food for a family of 5 for a week.
      That's 70,000 week of food for a family of 5. Or roughly 100 people their entire lifetime.

      And in context Jeff Bezos' net worth is $201,000,000,000 and $18 is for a week of food for the family. That's 21 years of essential food for the whole country of Uganda.

  21. ABM Guest

    Until USA acts other than just issue statements, these are the kind of guys we need home and receive the best healthcare we have in Uganda.

  22. Bright Guest

    PURPOSE OF THE FLIGHT.
    The Uganda airlines plane flew the ill Speaker of Parliament of Uganda for treatment

  23. Dryford Chimutu Guest

    Probably it was just a road-test trip. Of course, one can't say so for a plane; for it flies in the air, rather than stroll on a road surface. So, it was probably just an air-test trip, meanwhile the Veep and or the dictator’s son could have just taken advantage of the same. :)

  24. Jjjjj Guest

    let me keep quite. .they may come for me ...torture is serious

  25. The Pearl Ug Guest

    The Speaker of Uganda Parliament headed for medical treatment in Seattle... Clue

  26. Gumisiriza Guest

    Our speaker of parliament is very sick and that's why our government had to use our airline to airlift him to USA for medication.

    He is in critical conditions

  27. Michael Fehily Guest

    Is it possible that Uganda Airlines have arranged a reconfiguration the cargo hold or something down below. That operation may involve altertering the layout of cabling or may require technical assistance of Boeing techies. Just a guess.

    1. turgutbey Guest

      This still doesn't add up to me. Why would you fly over the entire east coast and Midwest with dozens of well reputed hospitals etc to go to Seattle for medical treatment. Not to mention all of the options in Europe?!?

    2. Gaurav Community Ambassador

      Shouldn't need Boeing techs to reconfigure an Airbus...

  28. Jimmy Guest

    It was the speaker of Uganda's parliament on board, for specialized treatment abroad.

  29. CJ Guest

    Finally found the reason guys!!! I was told that the plane was met by medical/Ambulances.

    https://www.independent.co.ug/speaker-oulanyah-in-seattle-for-treatment/

  30. Nupian Heckler Guest

    They secretly flew the speaker of parliament for treatment. After presiding over the collapse of the health care system, these crooks are flown out at a cost higher than they medical treatment they are going for.

  31. Ugandan Guest

    Well.. Our Speaker of Parliament was the sole passenger - For treatment - "weird"? right....!? Welcome To Africa/Uganda :) - https://observer.ug/news/headlines/72661-speaker-oulanyah-secretly-flown-to-us-for-treatment

  32. Denis Guest

    May be another dota is due. Going to deliver in Seattle hospital.

    This was the ambulance that was avoiding hot weather, and passed via Iceland

  33. Posta Uganda Parcel Guest

    With the DRC invasion by UPDF, that stop in Iceland is highly sus

  34. Robert Atuhairwe Guest

    Well..it could be a marketing stunt..and it's working going by the hype. But a V.I.P may be on board.not feeling very OK

  35. Jponhg Guest

    The plane is in Seattle as it was carrying a very sick Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, Mr. Jacob Oulanyah. He is in the US to get medical treatment. This is the second evacuation of this VIP.

  36. David Guest

    Its in uganda a poor 3rd world country with only 2 aircrafts that they hv to send one to lift one official regardless of the expenses.

  37. Doxycycline Guest

    Taking the ailing speaker of Parliament for medical treatment

  38. Musa Semakula Guest

    According to the 'Redpepper', a Uganadan daily newspaper, it had brought the Ugandan Speaker of Parliament to the US for specialized Medical treatment.

  39. Brese Guest

    Highly likely that it's Uganda's Speaker of legislative assembly that was flown there to receive medical treatment. It's rumoured that he had been in the intensive care unit at Uganda's Mulago Hospital, and had to be flown out on Thursday 3rd February for special treatment. Which explains the landing at SEA on Friday. We wish him safe recovery

  40. Rols Guest

    This why the plane flew to Seattle.
    "Speaker Oulanyah secretly flown to US for treatment. Oulanyah who was last seen in public in December, was flown to Seattle aboard Uganda Airlines via Iceland, flight no. UR2 on Thursday. It was the first time the revived airline was flying to the US https://t.co/VTeBsajMsH https://t.co/OuypPOnJpj"

  41. Ladit Guest

    The FID to kick off the oil boom was signed in Uganda last week. It saw many top level guests from the oil Industry come to Uganda to witness this. Entebbe Airport was full of private jets, in a way that has never been seen before. It is therefore possible that one or dome of these BIG Shot oil boys and girls Chartered the plane to that destination. The signing of the FID has turned...

    The FID to kick off the oil boom was signed in Uganda last week. It saw many top level guests from the oil Industry come to Uganda to witness this. Entebbe Airport was full of private jets, in a way that has never been seen before. It is therefore possible that one or dome of these BIG Shot oil boys and girls Chartered the plane to that destination. The signing of the FID has turned on the tap for 14 billion usd to start flowing into the country in the next 44 months!!!! Me thinks that's got to do with it!!!

  42. Petero Guest

    The Speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah has been secretly flown to Seattle, United States of America for specialized treatment | The Observer:
    https://observer.ug/news/headlines/72661-speaker-oulanyah-secretly-flown-to-us-for-treatment

  43. Em Guest

    The plane was carrying the speaker for parliament who is currently sick.

  44. Eskimo Guest

    Boeing has jumped into the dealership business.

    Trade-in your old A330 for a new 787 off the lot.
    Don't worry, we sell overpriced extended warranties and maintenance packages too.

  45. Gustavo Guest

    The Speaker of Uganda's Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, has been sick for sometime with Stage 4 cancer. The president ordered his people to get speaker to get best medical attention available at any cost. That plane ferried the Speaker, medical team and family.

  46. Vancouver - Char Gold

    Interesting post - that Uganda Airlines Airbus A330-800 is beautiful with her sleek livery; would be interested to learn the purpose of this flight from Entebbe to Seattle

    1. Eskimo Guest

      What's more interesting is the KEF stop.

      The 338 should have enough range to fly nonstop to SEA unless the payload is very very heavy.
      All OMAAT's theory suggest a fairly light payload leaving EBB.
      Possibly other operational limitations that requires a stop or KEF does have some significance here.

    2. Rdo Guest

      They have to give back .. NO MONEY to pay for it ..

  47. Brian Guest

    The speaker of the Ugandan parliament was flown to the USA for medical treatment.
    https://ugandaradionetwork.net/story/speaker-jacob-oulannyah-flown-to-united-states-for-treatment-

  48. PT Guest

    The flight was carrying the speaker of the Ugandan Parliament Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, who was travelling to Seattle for Medical treatment. Mystery resolved.

  49. Derrick Guest

    I think someone was ill and needed an urgent private arrangement to sneak into US. But soon we will get it right. They fail to facilitate ugandan hospitals but when they are near death, they pull floating grass while drowning. Work for all people not your own stomachs.

  50. Steven E Guest

    Maybe they got it wrong and thought it was a Boeing and not an Airbus - going home for a check

  51. Matindo Simon Guest

    Hmmm so funny

  52. Betty N Guest

    Hopefully,,, maybe they gat to sign an urgent deal with the Boeing....but still dats quite costly for such a long haul travel. And that issue of using UR2 is also confusing in this case,..but we are ready for surprises.

  53. Hans Guest

    I think this flight was under government contract to assist with deportation of African deportees.

  54. Jude Guest

    The airline made it very clear their next target will be A220s so no likely shopping with boeing I guess

  55. Musisi henry Guest

    Maybe the dictator's son had come for some American liquor

    1. Brizone Gold

      I'm guessing Ugandan VP Jessica Alupo (ergo UR2) & family/friends went on a trip? Her wikipedia page says she likes to travel... I notice that the flight departed EBB a couple hours later than originally scheduled, thus arriving KEF at 7am. That's perfect timing to go have breakfast, do some shopping, then leave for Seattle at 11:11am. It doesn't take 4 hours to fuel an A330.

  56. PreppyRN Guest

    Went to have serious conversations with Boeing over B737MAX?!

  57. Sam Guest

    Guessing Gates foundation. They do tons of mosquitoe disease work in Uganda. If it was shopping, probably would have landed at Boeing field down the street or up in Everett.

    Headed to SeaTac in a few hours. Hopefully its still there.

    1. John Guest

      The plane delivered the speaker of parliament to Seattle for treatment. A stopover in Iceland could have been for emergency treatment purposes.

  58. DMNYC Guest

    I just took off from Seattle and saw this as we were taxiing. Was wondering what it would have been doing there.

  59. Stuart Guest

    Must be related to Covid and vaccine or medical supply cargo. Given Bill Gates Foundation HQ is there it could be related to them and their humanitarian efforts.

    Cool spotting though of this. I would have thought I was losing my mind if I was in the terminal and saw it land.

  60. Nelson Member

    I go for your third theory! Isn't "Plane Shopping" used to happen mostly at Airshows?

    1. Roger Guest

      Wouldn’t have been easier to cross the Atlantic going to Brasil… and from there fly north up to Seattle?

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Mark B in Sydney Guest

So, let’s say flight time was roughly 18 hours @ US$35,000 per hour on a dry lease (assuming the government provides the crew etc for ‘free’) …so the lease value component is about $630,000. When you think the GDP of the US is 77 times that of Uganda, this would be like the US spending $48m to send Nancy Pelosi off for medical treatment. Just to put some relativity to it. You’d think a corporate jet like a Gulfstream G650 would be much more cost effective and less international embarrassment for such largesse. It’s hard to feel sorry for these countries that readily seek aid when they act so grossly irresponsibly. There may be mitigating circumstances I don’t have all the facts so this is based on what I’m reading here.

2
Eskimo Guest

The jet that politician was on can fly that route nonstop. Neither time or money was the issue. And just to top your brag. I live near a large airport, I have a Jets at my disposal within 1 hour as long as pre-check is open and TSA isn't a trainee. :)

1
turgutbey Guest

This still doesn't add up to me. Why would you fly over the entire east coast and Midwest with dozens of well reputed hospitals etc to go to Seattle for medical treatment. Not to mention all of the options in Europe?!?

1
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