Uganda Airlines Plans London Heathrow Flights With A330-800neo

Filed Under: Other Airlines

A pretty snazzy-looking plane could be making an appearance at London Heathrow in the not-too-distant future…

Uganda Airlines plans long haul service with A330-800neo

Uganda Airlines recently took delivery of two new A330-800neos. The airline only launched in 2019, so as an avgeek it’s cool to see such a small, new airline grow so quickly (even if the growth is questionable).

Based on what has been revealed so far, Uganda Airlines plans to fly its A330-800neos to Dubai, Guangzhou, London, and Mumbai, though up until now details of the timeline have been limited. It looks like we now have a better sense of the first long haul route that the airline may launch.

Uganda Airlines’ A330-800neo destinations

Uganda Airlines plans London launch in 2021

According to Chimp Reports, Uganda Airlines has secured slots to offer service between Entebbe and London Heathrow:

  • The service could commence as early as March 28, 2021, which aligns with the IATA summer schedule
  • Uganda Airlines could operate the flight up to 5x per week
  • While the exact flights schedule for the ~4,030 mile flight isn’t yet known, the flight would arrive at Heathrow at 6:45AM and depart at 9AM

Uganda Airlines’ Entebbe to London route

While some are reporting that this service will actually commence as of March 28, 2021, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Roger Wamala, Uganda Airlines’ Commercial Director, has stated that the airline isn’t ready to start service yet:

  • The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority hasn’t cleared the planes to fly, and it’s expected that this clearance will come at the end of April
  • Because of the UK lockdown and restrictions on non-essential travel to & from the UK, this kind of service wouldn’t be economically viable

As he stated in an interview:

“Those are the two hurdles, so we have the slots but we cannot fly.”

With slot requirements currently being waived at Heathrow, the airline can maintain the slots for now without actually having to operate the service. Frankly that’s probably for the best, given the lack of demand and travel restrictions at the moment.

This also raises the question of how exactly Uganda Airlines secured these slots, and if they’re just for the summer season, or what. Because Heathrow slots don’t typically come cheap…

Uganda Airlines’ A330-800neo business class

Bottom line

Uganda Airlines has allegedly secured slots to serve London Heathrow, and could start flights as early as late March (in terms of slots). However, the airline isn’t quite ready to launch this route. That’s because the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority hasn’t cleared the carrier’s A330-800neos to fly, plus the current UK lockdown makes these flights impractical for now.

I’ll be curious to see when Uganda Airlines finally starts its London service, and I look forward to flying with this airline eventually.

When do you think Uganda Airlines will launch London flights?

  1. Iam Very curious about Uganda airlines given the levels of corruption in the country. I don’t think London Heathrow airport made a good decision to give Uganda airlines slots. I can see fatalities coming up with the Uganda airlines. I don’t think people are going to be Safe flying with Uganda airlines with the long haul

  2. @Richard, I think it’s likely to be pretty safe. KQ has had a decent record of safety and operated as a reasonable option for long haul flights for a while (I’ve flown with them to London and Bangkok over the years), and Kenya isn’t exactly a country known for being corruption free.

    My biggest issue with UG Airlines (that Ben eluded to) is that it makes minimal financial sense, particularly in the way it’s being structured. This airlines seems to partially be about a prestige projects and I’m somewhat skeptical a “national carrier” is really worth the cost here. I’d love to see more connectivity for domestic flights in UG, but at the moment the entire focus in on cannibalizing existing regional and international routes in and out of East Africa.

  3. Hey, I am optimistic of these long gaul flights, @Richard, they will be safe, just half the range (4030/8150 NMs)

    @John, domestic flights have been left to domestic players. Also works are ongoing to improve on in-country airports

  4. There will be a market for this flight, for travelers who want to go nonstop into Central Africa. I flew BA’s 777 Nonstop Svc. LHR-EBB, to embark on gorilla tracking in Bwindi.

  5. Richard Kiyaga:

    Airports in the UK are not responsible for distribution of slots… the ACL is independent of all airport operators. So Heathrow didn’t “make a mistake” letting Uganda Airlines in… the mistake was in fact yours for not knowing what you are talking about. LOL

  6. There are plenty of slots available at Heathrow right now, but as short term allocations for up to 2 years without historical rights. Pretty much anyone who wants to fly to Heathrow presently can get in, but come winter 2022 they could see themselves back on the outside if demand rebounds.

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