Uganda’s national carrier, the Uganda airlines was established in 1976. It was fully operationalised in 1977. Due to mismanagement however, the airline was liquidated by the government in 2001. This followed an attempt by the government to privatise the airlines in the late 1990s. In 2007, a private company under the Agha Khan Fund for Economic Development (Celestair) and trading as Air Uganda started regional operations. The Civil Aviation Authority later revoked its license in 2014.
In his first address to the cabinet, the president tasked the new minister for works and transport, Eng. Azuba Monica, to prioritise the matter of reviving the national airline. The president reiterated his message while celebrating 54 years of Uganda’s independence at Luuka district. The ministry is to receive approximately $270 million in this regard.
Engineer Monica’s first task will be to establish a good management team that will understand customers’ needs and expectations, and design good strategies to meet them. Due to the volatile nature of the aviation industry, an emergent strategy that has a quick reaction to passengers’ needs would best suit the national carrier. The fleet size and type will influence the type of business model to operate. Low cost or full service models are the most commonly applied by airlines world over. However due to the everyday changes in passengers choices, a hybrid business model type has been developed that offers full service at low prices.
Designing of routes to be flown by the airline will be one of the team’s biggest challenges. The East African market is currently dominated by Ethiopian airlines, Kenya Airlines, Rwanda Air and Middle East carriers. Competition in the region will therefore play a big factor in determining the routes to be flown by carrier. Choice of fleet ownership, type and size will also influence the cost of management. The team will have to decide on whether to lease or have full ownership of the fleet. However the recent statistics show that more carriers are increasingly flying leased aircraft. This has mainly been attributed to high costs of purchase.
The airline will also have to guarantee its passengers’ safety as well as reliability. Good management that aims at having good service at reduced costs will create a good competitive advantage of the new national carrier in the region. The national carrier will improve the country’s global image, and also increase connectivity from the country to various destinations. A good global image will positively impact on other sectors of the economy such as tourism and investment. This will be key for the success of the national carrier.
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