Uganda Airlines Airbus Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Airlines, like many of its counterparts in the region will have to cater for two new challenges. That is, the ban on flights by destination markets as well as the plans by bigger and older airlines to re-dominate the market.
Less than three months after the launch of the Entebbe-Dubai flights, which was promising to be the most lucrative route, the flights were suspended, disrupting the growth plans by Uganda Airlines.
The October launch of the Uganda Airlines flight had come two months after the United Arab Emirates lifted a travel ban on several countries including Uganda in August, a ban that had been put in place in June, over a surge in new coronavirus infections then. Since then, Uganda Airlines has been operating between near to full capacity on the flights to Dubai, according to the acting Chief Executive, Jennifer Bamuturaki.
“On the first commercial flight, we had 80 passengers on our 258-passenger Airbus to Dubai. On the second flight, we had 220 passengers,” says Bamuturaki on the capacity of the Uganda Airlines. This has been the same picture on the shorter routes like Dar-es-Salaam and Johannesburg.
Thankfully, cargo between Uganda and the UAE will not be affected as only passenger flights have been suspended. And this business segment is playing a critical role in ensuring that the airlines remain in business, according to Bamuturaki. New CEO Bamuturaki “Definitely, business was affected by the ban. We were making 60,000 to 70,000 US Dollars per flight before the ban,” she says, adding that this was expected to grow with time. The carrier has been operating direct flight services between Entebbe and Dubai on a 258-seater Airbus A330-800 Neo three times a week, and the immediate plan was to increase these to five due to increasing demand.
On December 30, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled plans of a ‘Pan-African Airlines’ which would result from a merger of operations between Kenya Airways (KQ) and South African Airways (SAA).
Now, the December indefinite ban, whether or not it was expected by the Ugandan authorities and airlines managers, comes as a dent to its struggles to fit into the market.
But the CEO says all is not lost and they are catching up with business again through cargo. “We are now realizing an average of 50,000 to 60,000 US Dollars per flight. So you can see that it is playing […]