Uganda Airlines repatriates Covid-19 stranded returnees from Southern Africa
Flag carrier Uganda Airlines, will today mount a flight from southern Africa, to return home Ugandans that were stranded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to sources familiar with the operation, the flight that will be carrying a total of 71 passengers will start in Johannesburg from where the first group will board. It will then fly to Lusaka from where other passengers will join before making the final hop to Entebbe.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced three other repatriation flights with departures scheduled for today from London Heathrow, Rome and Geneva. But the latter flights and others scheduled for July 3 and 4 from Abu Dhabi in the U.A.E and New Delhi in India will be operated by Ethiopian Airlines.
Uganda Airlines could not participate in those flights because of limitations of its fleet of Bombardier (now Mitshubishi) CRJ-900 aircraft which have a maximum operating non-stop range of 3400km. However, sources at the carrier say it will be participating in a number of other repatriation flights in the near future.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has indicated that 2400 Ugandans are set to return home. They will be returning in staggered groups of 300 a week, a sequence that has been designed to feed into the pipeline of holding facilities for those that might require immediate admission into medical care or the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Uganda Airlines which started commercial operations last August, had carried 78,000 passengers to March 7, when flights were suspended. It is scheduled to take delivery of its first longhaul aircraft, an A330-9800 neo,in December, following which intercontinental flights will start in early 2021.