KAMPALA, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Uganda on Tuesday received two new aircraft amid efforts to revive its national carrier.
Crowds cheered as the two CRJ900 Bombardier touched down at Entebbe International Airport, 40 km south of the capital, Kampala, in an event broadcast live.
President Yoweri Museveni, who received the aircraft, said Uganda Airlines will target Ugandans in the diaspora, local business people, the Indian community and tourists.
"When I looked at the figure, I saw that Ugandans spend 400 million U.S. dollars in travel every year," Museveni said. "This is a lot of money. Ugandans will be spending money on our airline."
Tourists will now be able to fly directly into the country from destinations such as China, Britain, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, he said.
Monica Azuba Ntege, minister of works, said the two new aircraft, and another two that will be delivered later this year, will ply regional routes.
According to the ministry of works, an additional two A330-800neos, will be delivered later and used for long-haul flights.
"Today marks the historical landing of the wheels and wings of the country's national airline," Ntege said.
"Government is committed to doing things right this time to ensure the past mistakes are not repeated," she added.
Uganda Airlines collapsed in 2001 after it faced financial difficulties. It was liquidated after years of making losses.
There have been numerous but unsuccessful attempts to establish a local-based airline.