Dar es Salaam. Uganda Airlines (UA) is finalizing interlining negotiations with two of Tanzania’s airlines in an effort to streamline travelling across the region.
Speaking at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam yesterday, UA’s country manager, Ms Lucy Ismail, said negations with Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) and Precision Air (PW) are in the final stages.
An interline agreement allows airlines to handle the check-in and baggage for each other’s passengers.
This means travellers only have to check in once for all the flights on their itinerary – and that their baggage will be transferred by the first airline to the second without them having to manually collect it and re-book it.
UA has already inked an interlining pact with Qatar Airways, Emirates, Hahn Air and French’s APG Airlines – and they are now at the systems testing stage.
Ms Ismail was speaking during an event where Uganda Airlines exposed its travellers between Dar es Salaam and Entebbe to the new experience of travelling in the comfort of its newly-acquired A330-800Neo as part of celebrations to mark its second year of commercial operations.
The two aircraft have just been purchased to enable UA to launch its long-range operations with non-stop intercontinental flights to the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
According to Ms Ismail, long-haul routes in the firm’s pipeline include Dubai, London, Guangzhou (China) and Mumbai (India).
The Uganda Airlines, she explained, plans to start flying to Dubai and London before the end of this year.
Further, she added, they also plan to start flying to Guangzhou and Mumbai early next year. In Africa, she said, they are going to start flying to Goma and Lubumbashi before the end of this calendar year.
Currently, the Crane is flying to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Entebbe, Nairobi, Mombasa, Mogadishu, Juba, Bujumbura, Kinshasa and Johannesburg.
“With the addition of the A330-800Neo in our fleet, we will expand our footprint in the growing African markets and beyond,” Ms Ismail exuded her optimism.
Uganda Airlines is currently running a four-craft fleet of bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft and two new Airbus A330-800.
The airline is also now ready for cargo business after it secured the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority a fortnight ago.
“The Airbus A330-800 neo has been added to our AOC and soon we will be flying long haul and carry cargo as well,” she told reporters yesterday.
The new Airbus 330-800 Neo has seating capacity of 258 of which 20 seats are business class, 28 pre-economy and 210 the economy class.
The new airbus will facilitate quality long-haul flights, giving passengers improved inflight-services with relaxed sound-free travel to their destinations.