Will Uganda Airlines commence flights this month?

Analysts say carrier will struggle to compete at fair rates and service

| THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s national flag carrier, Uganda Airlines, has again announced that it will commence commercial flights at the end of this month.

The airline officials say the carrier received an operating licence, commonly known as Air Operator Certificate (AOC), from the Civil Aviation Authority on July 26 and it is ready to fly although it was scheduled to start commercial flights in July.

Jennifer Bamuturaki , the Commercial Director, Uganda Airlines confirmed that the carrier is now looking at commencing commercial flights on Aug. 28, using the recently acquired two CRJ aircraft with a sitting capacity of 76 passengers.

“Now that we have received the AOC…we are starting another process with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to operationalise our two letter code that has been on the test mode, with all our reservations and accounting systems,” she said. “Once that is done, then, we will start our normal advertising (for flight bookings).

IATA is the industry association for international airlines. It has a membership of 290 airlines, and is charged with global commercial standards for the air transport industry.

Bamuturaki said the carrier will in the first phase start with flights to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Mogadishu, Kilimanjaro, Mombasa, Bujumbura and Juba.

The airline will add more destinations including Kigali, Goma, Lusaka, Johannesburg, Harare and Bangui in the second phase following delivery of the third and fourth CRJ aircraft later in the year.

Uganda Airlines also plans to fly the A330-800neos from the French aeronautics manufacturer, Airbus, for long-haul flights. These include; London, Bangkok, Guangzhou, Dubai, Tel Aviv and New Delhi. It is still not clear when Uganda Airlines will commence flights to these destinations.

But as plans to return Uganda Airlines to the air continue apace, some analysts remain sceptical about whether this is the right time to get back into business. This comes at a time the aviation industry has become so competitive and most national carriers have to rely on their governments to fund operations.

These, among others include; Kenya Airways, RwandAir, South African Airways, Air Zimbabwe, Air Namibia, Air Botswana and Air India.Uganda’s plan to revive the national carrier gained momentum on Dec. 31, 2016, when President Yoweri Museveni said in his New Year message that the government had finalized plans to revive the carrier in a bid to ease travel in and out of the […]

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