FILE PHOTO: A Uganda Airlines Bombardier CRJ-900 taxi is pictured during its relaunching flight to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi

INTERNATIONAL – Uganda’s national carrier Uganda Airlines received two passenger planes on Monday, doubling the size of the fledgling airline’s fleet.

The airline received two CRJ900 planes from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier, the airline said on its Twitter handle. Each plane can seat 72 passengers.

The airline is considering expanding its destinations to include Kinshasa, Zanzibar, Lusaka, Asmara, Hargeisa, Djibouti and Addis Ababa, it said.

Uganda Airlines was relaunched in August, with the country eager to take a slice of the region’s growing aviation business that is currently dominated by Ethiopian Airlines.

Uganda Airlines expects to receive two Airbus A330 Neo planes soon. The first will arrive by the end of the year, and the second a few months later.

The state carrier was founded in 1976 by former dictator Idi Amin but liquidated in 2001 during a broader push to sell off struggling state-owned firms.

The airline started flying again last month, banking on passengers from the Uganda’s emerging oil industry and the traditional tourism sector.

In August, Uganda relaunched its national carrier, Uganda Airlines, hoping to take a slice of the East African aviation business that is dominated by Ethiopian Airlines.

Though air traffic in Africa is forecast to grow 6 percent a year, twice as quickly as mature markets, over the next two decades, most state-owned flag carriers on the continent are losing money. The notable exception is Ethiopian Airlines, which analysts say has avoided the mistakes of other regional carriers and not fallen prey to political interference.

Reuters