Uganda Airlines: A maiden flight, excitement and rolex
By Our Reporter
20 years later, it arrived. The Uganda Airlines took to the skies amid thunderous applauds from all on board. A maiden flight to fly the colours black, yellow and red high into the skies would touch base in Nairobi. Upon arrival in Nairobi, a salute awaited, the Bombadier’s arrival would sprinkle smiles across faces in Jomo Kenyata Airport faces.
Many pointed and you could see that our neighbors couldn’t be prouder. But it was the water salute that had us all smiles, a deserving welcome for Nation’s carrier. But see that had become a thing of sorts for everyone that saw, touched or got into this maiden flight that day was happy. It was surreal, every single thing was. The taste of rolex on a plane felt different, a good type of different! Hearing Luganda spoken was surreal, the accents with hints of Uganda marinating in every word felt right.
That the crew was Ugandan made it homely, their words were songs to the ear. We all smiled, some clapped when the words took over the airwaves, we felt home. But soon we were giggling again, the excitement would just not stop. Maybe it was the jokes from the ferociously chatty kick-boxer, Moses Golola. It was goosebumps and hearty laughter all through.
And then there was another trip to South Sudan’s Juba Airport. That was even more electrifying than day one. Our neighbors there were just as excited and didn’t try to hide it. We were given a hero’s welcome, it was numbingly beautiful. Yes, they too are rooting for us, but also just happy at what this represents.
Being the ‘new kid on the block’, the planes had a new feel, everything felt re-assuringly new. But also the zeal with the service was offered was beautiful, it was obvious that everyone crew member on board had brought their ‘A’ game. In the end the Shs120million free-flight promotion did attract all the deserved airtime and hype that it needed.
When time came for business, it will be noted that the choice plane was Bombardier CRJ-900, one with a capacity of 76, including 12 business class seats. It was reported that flight captain was Charles Karabarinde, helped by first Officer, Denis Chotum, purser Asiimwe Neema and cabin crew members; Ronnie Kasemiire and Johnson Mugume. To ensure all went well, two pilots in training, Drazu Tina and Rashid Cheboy were on the flight carrying out observations. An elated Karabarinde said that he and crew members were ready for business, and that theirs was simply to do their job. The airline made Shs8Million on day one of business.