Uganda Airlines (UR, Entebbe) intends to wet-lease an A320 this month to be deployed on its route to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, South Africa, to fill the medium-haul gap in its fleet, according to CEO Jenifer Bamuturaki.

Speaking to national broadcaster UBC, she described the wet-lease as an interim solution given the long lead times for buying narrowbody aircraft. "We haven't made an order [to buy] yet; the nearest we can get is 2029, 2030," she said.

Uganda Airlines has a fleet of four CRJ900LRs and two A330-800N widebodies and needs a mid-range aircraft as the Bombardier Aerospace regional jets limit the airline's capacity on certain routes.

"We will put this aircraft on routes where we are using the CRJ and are having volume and weight challenges," she explained. "We hope to see an increase and improvement in our numbers [as a result], especially on those routes like Johannesburg, where we are restricting the baggage weight and number of bags you can carry."

Johannesburg is affected by hot-and-high conditions, which restricts the range and payload of aircraft operating there.

Bamuturaki did not disclose who would supply the wet-leased "A320neo"(sic) and was not immediately available when contacted by ch-aviation. Making the switch from the 90-seater CRJ900 to a 180-seater A320 would double capacity on the routes it is deployed on. A spokeswoman subsequently confirmed, "the aircraft is an A320, and we shall take delivery sometime this month". She could not disclose the lessor.

Bamuturaki told UBC that Uganda Airlines had also received foreign operator permits for the following destinations:

The airline is also awaiting a permit for Guangzhou, China, she added. The airline currently serves 12 African destinations and intercontinentally to Dubai International and Mumbai International, the ch-aviation capacities module shows.

"We are looking forward to expanding our route network, but also we're looking forward to the fact that we will be creating a hub concept in Entebbe where we will bring people through to connect on other flights or to come into Uganda to enjoy our tourism," she said.

Uganda Airlines is targeting profitability by 2027 through a plan that aims to cover 85% of operating costs within three years. This involves reducing crew expenses, landing fees, navigation charges, pilot training, rentals, fuel, and maintenance costs. The airline is focusing on long-term sustainability by expanding into new routes and capitalising on cargo, particularly agricultural exports, and regional tourism, for medium-term revenue.