The induction of a pair of A330-800neos into the Uganda Airlines fleet, will directly add 104 new jobs to the company’s headcount. That will be at the aircraft level and the numbers will increase in proportion to mandatory requirements across departments such as engineering and maintenance.
As the airline grows and takes on more A330’s or other widebody types by Airbus such as the A350, the number of jobs generated will increase in almost equal proportion. More contextualised the initial fleet of Uganda Airlines Bombardier CRJ-900’s resulted in a workforce of slightly more than 200 people.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) determines the minimum crew requirements for each aircraft type. For cabin crew, it uses a ratio of one flight attendant for a every 50 passengers on board. Using that formula, Uganda Airlines with 261 seats on the A330 would require a minimum of 6 flight attendants per aircraft. In practical terms however, there other considerations that go into determining crew levels such as the number of classes on the aircraft and the service levels the airline chooses.
An airline with big premium classes might raise the cabin crew staffing levels in order to meet its promise to customers. Uganda Airlines will have 20 seats in Business Class, 28 in Premium Economy and 213 in Economy, so it might as well go for maximum crew numbers on the type. According to Airbus guidance, each A330-800 requires 11 flight attendants per flight. Coupled with the two pilots, that makes for 13 crew on each aircraft.
Critical in determining staff levels is also, the type and number of doors, that require personnel to supervise emergency evacuations. Some doors which can be operated by passengers don’t require a flight attendant. But doors equipped with slides and life rafts, need to be manned by a member of the cabin crew.
Depending on an airline’s flight schedule, nature of operations and crew rest requirements, each aircraft can require as many as four crew sets in a combination of pilots and cabin crew. That would translate into 8 pilots and 44 cabin attendants per aircraft depending on the length of the sectors it flies.
Uganda Airlines has indicated that it will be using the A330-800 on services to Guangzhou, London, Mumbai and Dubai. The type will also probably be deployed to Kinshasa and West Africa at some point. While the set that takes an aircraft from Entebbe to Kinshasa can turnround immediately without compromising safety, in places like London and Guangzhou, Mumbai or even Dubai, crew rest rules might require layovers. That means having replacement crews in those places hence requirement for additional crews as the network and frequency grow.
The national carrier will generate even more jobs during the third phase of its development when it adds high capacity short range and medium haul aircraft such as the Airbus A320 family to its network. Capable “workhorses” such as the A321XLR which can now endure flights to London, will fill the gap between the CRJ, which is the smallest in Uganda Airlines fleet and the A330. They will be particularly useful as frequency drivers on high density routes on intra-African services and low-risk entry level aircraft on thin medium range routes such as Entebbe-Istanbul or even Entebbe-Delhi.