UGANDA GOVERNMENT CONSIDERING STAKE IN AIR UGANDA
When some time ago a few individuals tried to make hay with their chatter to once again start up a national airline in Uganda – Uganda Airlines was liquidated in 2001 after several failed attempts to privatise the carrier as a result of strong arm tactics and political interference at the time – more informed aviation observers immediately rubbished the suggestions as financially beyond the country’s means and a blatant attempt to open another ‘eating shop’ which could swiftly become just one more hotbed of corruption and misuse of state funds. This correspondent at the time argued that it would make more sense to consider the standing offer to invest in quasi national airline Air Uganda, which was made to the Uganda government when the airline was launched 5 years ago.
There appears to be some movement now within government circles to finally consider this option seriously as reports are emerging in Kampala that the Minister for Trade and Industry Mrs. Amelia Kyambadde – who is also the immediate former Principal Private Secretary to President Museveni – has for the first time floated the idea in public when talking about the need to create aviation capacity to aid exports of Uganda’s produce.
Fully owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, aka AKFED which is part of the Aga Khan Development Network, Meridiana Africa Airlines (Uganda) Limited, trading as Air Uganda, is presently flying from Entebbe to Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Bujumbura and Juba but is said to be keen to expand their destination network and add additional aircraft, which a partnership with government may make considerably easier to accomplish.
The airline is also expected to shortly announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer, after former CEO Kayle Haywood jumped ship prematurely when he served sudden notice and walked out of his contract to join upstart FastJet in October last year. Expect to read about the new man at the helm in due course, when the news can be broken without causing a few blushes here and there. Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from Eastern Africa.