Have you been finding it challenging to connect to Uganda for a vacation? If yes, then count it no more! By December this year, the long awaited Uganda’s national airline will be back in the air and you will have your dreams achieved in this splendid country. And this will increase the country’s regional market share with the current boom in the aviation sector today and it will also revitalize the country’s service sector.
To achieve this, 4 (four) air crafts have been planned to be bought and these will set a foundation for the 6 (six) air crafts that are expected to re-establish the long awaited airline in the pearl of Africa. Discussions have been conducted for the 4 Canadair Regional Jets 900 series to be bought and very soon ending that will see this national carrier back in the air by end of this year. About 1.2 million dollars has already been paid as commitment fee to Bombardier and European aircraft maker airbus. For long, the Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and South African Airways have dominated Uganda’s air travel sector and re-launching this airline means the country will benefit from the regional market share.
Besides, bookings have also been placed for the manufacture of medium and long distance airplanes. Each year, Ugandans spend over 430 million dollars only on air travel and it has been the regional airlines that have been beneficiaries of this. Also as second international airport is under establishment in North western Uganda and it will largely serve the crude oil sector which is expected to enhance several industries and air travel inclusive. On other hand, the already existing Entebbe International Airport is undergoing expansion so as to increase its carrying capacity. The re-launch of this airline is part of the set goals to make Uganda a middle income state by 2020.
To meet the economic and other demands, the challenge still goes back to all stakeholders to develop full guidelines on how this flag carrier will function. Previously, this airline launched its daily flights around 1977 and still Entebbe Airport served as its hub approximately 41 kilometers’ drive away from Kampala. In the 1978, it had about 15 aircrafts that were government owned. By 1999, it lost its luggage handling services and the private company become in charge which left it limping with only revenue that was generated from passengers and some cargo. It is however, believed that there is an increase in passenger and cargo traffic at Entebbe which makes it a worthy business quadrupling within the last 3 years.
By 2015, over 1.4 million passengers were handled plus 55000 tons of cargo and a fact that there is a boom in the tourism sector, agricultural productivity and the oil sector; the air traffic is expected to rise in the near future. It is expected to lower its flight prices for passengers with a ticket costing around $1100-$1200 especially if you are on business class and 500 to 700 dollars-economy class but this will depend on when you book whereas those who are heading to London, the charges will range from $2700-$3000 dollars for business and economy class from 1000 to 1300 dollars.
However, it is important to bear in mind that competition is in every sector and its re-introduction will face it with the already established flag carriers like Ethiopia airlines, RwandAir and Kenya Airways. On other hand, it will offer more employment opportunities for those who are undertaking training as pilots in Soroti Flying School besides revenue generation to the country.