Uganda jubilates as its two newly acquired Bombardier CRJ900s planes for Uganda Airlines hit the Entebbe airport tarmac for the first time this Tuesday morning. The two planes flew in from Canada making a successful landing only to receive a big welcome.
The aircraft purchased have a new enhanced Atmosphere cabin system which is a first in their series making Uganda Airlines the first airline in Africa to operate them. There is also a pending delivery of two more Bombardier CRJ900s which are to arrive later this year followed by two Airbus A330-800 neo jetliners next year.
However, the Ugandan people won’t be able to enjoy any commercial flights in these new aircraft not until they complete the Air Operator Certification (AOC certification) process which has five phases and takes approximately 90 days to complete.
This means the Uganda Airlines will start operations around July 2019 once the certification process is completed. Meanwhile, as the certification process is ongoing, Bombardier will be showcasing the CRJ900 new cabin to other African countries as part of their marketing strategy.
It should also be noted that Uganda as so far signed 47 Bilateral Air Services Agreements with other countries which will soon need to be activated. These agreements also known as an Air Transport Agreements (ATAs) are signed between two nations to allow international commercial air transport services between their territories.
President Yoweri Museveni accompanied the First Lady Janet Museveni and other dignitaries also witnessed the landing of the two new planes today.
According to Uganda Airlines, the planes are expected to make flights to over 26 destinations with 19 confirmed regional and 7 international routes respectively.
The regional routes will include Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Bujumbura, Kigali, Goma, Harare, Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam and Lagos among others. The International flights are to London, Amsterdam, Bombay, Dubai and Doha.
Uganda Airlines ordered for four Bombardier CRJ900 planes each costing $27.3m (sh102.5b) and two A330-800neo planes made by Airbus each.
Facts about the Bombardier CRJ900
For those wondering about what the Bombardier CRJ900 is all about, we are going to give you a sneak peek into this new passenger aircraft.
The Bombardier CRJ900 is part of are regional jet airliner series manufactured by Bombardier and is based on the CRJ100 and 200 series.
After the success of the CRJ100/200 series, Bombardier Aerospace produced larger variants in order to compete with other larger regional aircraft. In 1995, the CRJ-X development was expected to cost US$200 million and by 1999, the company had invested US$440 million to develop the 70-seat CRJ700 and was to invest C$200 million more to develop the CRJ-900, stretched to 90 seats. The CRJ700 was then priced $24-25 million, and the CRJ900 was to be priced $28-29 million. (Wikipedia)
What we know about Uganda’s new Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft
Uganda’s new Bombardier CRJ900 planes are stretched 76–90 seat versions of the CRJ700. The airplanes are loosely based on the CRJ200 series with a few major improvements. The first CRJ900 (C-FRJX) was modified from the prototype CRJ700 by adding longer fuselage plugs fore and aft of the wings. It is meant to compete with the Embraer 175, and is more efficient per seat-mile, according to Bombardier.
Bombardier also states that the CRJ Series have revolutionized the regional market offering exceptional efficiency, performance and economics, sharing everything including engines.
The CRJ900, when configured in a 76-seat dual- or triple-class configuration, offers extra legroom and superior comfort, making it the ideal regional jet for today’s world. In a single-class configuration, the CRJ900 has the flexibility to easily seat up to 90 passengers. This capacity, combined with enhancements that result in 5.5% lower fuel burn, means the CRJ900 delivers the best economics in its class.
The aircraft also features two GE CF34-8C5 engines capable of producing 59.4 kN (13,400 lbf) thrust with APR. The engines are controlled by FADEC digital engine control instead of control cables and a fuel control unit.
The CRJ900 engines are controlled by FADEC digital engine control instead of control cables and a fuel control unit
Service and reliability
This is a very important aspect as no Ugandan wants to suffer the same fate as those that died recently in the plane crash that left many dead in Ethiopia when one of their Boeing 737 Max-8 planes suffered a failure minutes after takeoff.
The CRJ series are a global hit with over 1,900 orders to date. They’re also in service with over 60 airlines and 60 corporate customers around the world. Throughout its history the aircraft has transported over 1.6 billion passengers, and logged more than 47 million flight hours, according to Bombardier.
The CRJ900’s are known for their performance and reliability which is over 99.5% due to their advanced systems and robust technology.
With Uganda Airlines ready to take on the next big step, we pray that the government and the companies in charge of maintaining the fleets do their best to ensure success and longevity of the airline.
A lot is expected with the tourism sector hoping to expand its reach within the region after the revival of the Ugandan Airlines.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.