Uganda Airlines gets Funding for Two Cargo Planes, to fly to 9 more destinations

Jennifer Bamuturaki, the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Airlines talking to a delegate during the recent Trade Representatives Forum organized by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), at OPM Conference Hall

Kampala, Uganda I HABARI DAILY I Uganda Airlines, the national carrier, is set to receive a significant financial boost to enhance its operations. The National Airline Company Ltd, the legal arm of Uganda Airlines, will receive sh6.6 billion for the acquisition of two cargo freighters, along with sh7.5 billion for ground handling in the upcoming 2023/24 financial year.

The decision to allocate additional funds was made after Parliament acknowledged that the internally generated funds were insufficient to cover the planned activities. Members of Parliament (MPs) recommended that the government provide the necessary finances to support the airline’s endeavors.

During the debate and passage of the annual budget, the Budget Committee Report on the Annual Budget estimates for the Financial Year 2023/24 revealed that the airline’s budget had initially been reduced by over half. However, MPs reinstated the funds, recognizing the importance of Uganda Airlines’ aggressive and feasible expansion plan. The acquisition of the cargo freighters had not been initially provided for, but now the airline will have the necessary resources to carry out its plans.

Meanwhile, Uganda Airlines has unveiled an ambitious strategy to expand its global reach and boost revenue. By the end of this year, the airline aims to fly to eight new destinations. Jennifer Bamuturaki, the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Airlines, announced that the new destinations would include London, China (Guangzhou), India (Mumbai), Saudi Arabia (Riyadh), Sudan (Khartoum), Nigeria (Lagos), Ghana (Accra), Zimbabwe (Harare), and Zambia (Lusaka).

Bamuturaki stated that the airline had been diligently working on the application and documentation process for these destinations and anticipated receiving approvals from the respective authorities before the end of May 2023. Currently, the airline operates six aircraft, including two Airbus planes, which serve Dubai, Johannesburg, and Juba. However, these aircraft are not fully utilized, prompting the airline to seek further expansion opportunities.

To facilitate its growth, Uganda Airlines has been in discussions with various aircraft manufacturers, including Airbus, Boeing, and Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA). The airline aims to procure the most suitable aircraft, taking into account factors such as maintenance costs, operational efficiency, and overall performance.

Due to the regulatory requirements and processes involved, Uganda Airlines plans to launch the new destinations in a phased manner, with most of them expected to commence operations from June, coinciding with the beginning of the next financial year.

In addition to its expansion plans, Uganda Airlines has launched a campaign to promote the consumption of local products on its flights. The airline aims for 80% of all consumables on board to be produced domestically, including food, drinks, and beverages. This initiative aligns with the Buy Uganda, Build Uganda (BUBU) policy, which encourages the support of local industries and products.

Addressing concerns about potential competition, Lt. Gen Nakibus Lakara, the General Manager of Uganda Air Cargo Corporation, emphasized that the corporation and Uganda Airlines operate in distinct spheres. While Uganda Airlines conducts scheduled flights following international standards, Uganda Air Cargo Corporation focuses on unscheduled flights and specialized cargo transportation.

The recent Trade Representatives Forum organized by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID) aimed to strengthen coordination between local importers, exporters, and trade representatives from various parts of the world. Odrek Rwabogo, the Chairman of PACEID, emphasized the importance of institutional coordination to meet trade targets effectively.

With the additional funding secured and plans for expansion, Uganda Airlines is poised to take significant strides in connecting Uganda to new international markets, bolstering trade, and promoting the country’s economic growth.

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