Uganda Airlines – a week and counting


(Posted 21st August 2019)


In exactly a week will the new Uganda Airlines begin to spread their wings into the East African skies in earnest.
Equipped with two CRJ900 aircraft – two more of this aircraft type are expected to join the fleet in September according to government statements – will the new national airline begin twice daily flights between Entebbe and Nairobi, flying into competitive headwinds against Kenya Airways – up to five flights a day, KQ’s subsidiary JamboJet – two flights a day, RwandAir – two flights a day and East African Safari Air Express – two flights a day, all of which already serve this route and have built up their clientele.
Uganda Airlines though will, at least for the first couple of months, counter the competition with the lowest fares available in the market, no doubt quickly capturing the money savvy travellers looking at the overall cost of their trip when flying only point to point.
The launch flight to Nairobi on the 28th of August will be followed by the launch of services to Dar es Salaam and to Mogadishu, reminiscent of the routes flown by Air Uganda when the AKFED owned airline was still in operation.
Additional routes will follow, such as Kilimanjaro, Bujumbura, Mombasa and Juba, both before and after the additional CRJ900’s have joined the fleet.
Come 2020 / 2021 are then two Airbus A330-800neo’s expected in Entebbe, to allow the new airline the launch of intercontinental routes, with all indications suggesting London and a destination in China to start with.
ATCNews’ opinion in general about the launch of new national airlines – given the massive losses suffered by most such airlines across Africa apart from Ethiopian Airlines – is well documented but with the money for aircraft spent and the launch just days away, is the reality such that one has to live with the decisions taken by Uganda’s politicians, who put the revival of a national airline ahead of spending that money for other worthy purposes such as health, education and social services, among others.
Informed comments made in the past by individuals who should know what they are talking about, suggest that it may take 10 years for Uganda Airlines to reach profitability.
Neighbours Rwanda and Tanzania can tell how their airlines are faring, with Air Tanzania in the red for literally as long as the airline existed and even much hyped RwandAir still writing red figures despite a well thought out growth strategy over the past ten years.
Egypt Air on one end of the continent and South African Airways at the other end too have been writing deep red figures for very many years, as have all other national airlines, notably even those more recently established in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines.
A good number of former Air Uganda staff are now working with Uganda Airlines, finally securing employment again in their chosen profession and industry, after the brutal regulatory ‘execution’ (metaphorically speaking) of Air Uganda – widely reported about on ATCNews at the time.
To these staff and their colleagues go our best wishes and to the airline itself happy landings, always, for aircraft, crews and passengers ahead of the launch in a week’s time.
ATCNews wishes you success, because failure would be too expensive for our country!