Uganda to buy Dreamliners, 777F from Boeing

In Summary

US airplane maker Boeing scored a major goal in its efforts to beat back rival Airbus […]

US airplane maker Boeing scored a major goal in its efforts to beat back rival Airbus in East Africa, after Uganda agreed to buy Boeing passenger and cargo aircraft this week.

Persons familiar with the development say Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has authorised the purchase of four aircraft – two freighters and two passenger aircraft from Boeing.

According to details filtering out of an April 22 meeting between Ugandan officials and Boeing, agreement was reached for Uganda to buy a single a B737-800F and a B777 freighter. Additionally, Uganda will also buy a pair of B787 passenger aircraft, to bolster flag-carrier Uganda Airlines long-haul fleet.  It was not immediately clear which variant of the B787 is under consideration.

The freighters will be delivered within a two-year timeframe, while the passenger widebodies will come much later.

The agreement with Boeing does not affect parallel plans for the purchase of two A320’s from Airbus.

In the meetings, President Museveni was flanked by officials from the ministry for works and transport, sector regulator Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and representatives from Uganda Airlines.

Kuljit Ghata-Aura, the President Boeing Middle East, Turkey, Africa and Central Asia (METACA) led the airframer’s delegation that also included Anbessie Yitbarek, the vice-president Boeing Commercial Airplanes Sales & Marketing Africa.

While details of pricing were not immediately available, the two sides are understood to be working on a term-sheet that will lead to a definitive purchase contract.

As part of the agreement, Boeing is going to donate equipment to bolster the capacity of Soroti based East African Aviation Academy and also help with the development of a cargo hub at Entebbe. It will also support with training of both pilots and aircraft engineers not just for Uganda Airlines but at a national level.

The agreement is a major comeback for Boeing, which over the past decade has seen an aggressive Airbus break into territory that was previously considered exclusive to Boeing. The first shock came in 2013, when Ethiopian placed an order for 14 A350-900s.  Since the first delivery in June 2016, Ethiopian has grown its A350 order-book to 33 aircraft.

Further shocks would come in quick succession when Rwandair also opted for the A330 ceo (current engine option) with the first delivery taking place in 2017. Uganda Airlines would follow suit in 2018 when it chose the A330-800 neo for its long-haul fleet while Air Tanzania ordered four A220s.




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