Uganda Airlines (UR, Entebbe/Kampala) has acquired its first of two A330-800s on order from Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) after 5X-NIL (msn 1977) arrived in Entebbe/Kampala from Toulouse Blagnac on Tuesday, December 22.

Ugandan radio said the state-owned carrier's first widebody jet is expected to make its commercial debut in late January, once all regulatory checks with the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) have been completed.

The second of the pair is expected to arrive next month. Both feature 258 seats including 20 lie flat business-class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 210 economy class seats.

Chief Executive Officer Cornwell Muleya told ch-aviation in September that Uganda Airlines hopes to launch long-haul flights in February 2021, an improvement in the global COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding. Destinations that have so far been touted include London Heathrow/London Gatwick, Dubai Int'l, Guangzhou, Lagos, Accra, and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo.

Uganda Airlines currently operates four CRJ900s on short-haul regional flights to Burundi, Tanzania, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Kenya. The longterm plan is to leverage Entebbe's geographical location and turn it into a regional hub feeding passenger and cargo traffic into sub-Saharan Africa.