When first it was announced, even the very thought of it was like a joke. Not until the Minister of Works and Transport Eng. Monica Ntege Azuba, in a press conference held on 16th May 2018 made it public that the Ugandan national carrier would take off this year did it begin to sink in that the Uganda Airlines was indeed to be revived.
“We are starting with four aircrafts and these are Bombardiers produced in Canada. The sitting capacity is 80 to 100 passengers ”, the minister said. The CRJ900s are estimated to cost a sum of $46million each.
If the words of the minister are anything to go by, at a later stage the national carrier will receive two Airbus A330-800s. The Airbus A330-800 is a wide body aircraft that has a 14% fuel efficiency per seat while carrying between 250- 300 passengers depending on the classes available on the aircraft. Each of these, it is estimated, will cost the Ugandan government around $260million.
“We had a team and it has done studies and a business plan was made. It was found that it would be viable. What I have to tell you is that when you are in the airline business, you don’t plan on making profits as soon as you start. So according to the business plan we will break even after 4-5 years.” she added.
She did not stop from making it known that the airline will be fully owned and managed by government which plans to sell some shares to the general public later when the airline picks up momentum. Management she urged must be innovative and look beyond passengers and cargo to other activities such as ground handling, catering services and maintenance that can equally generate revenue. She maintained that the airline has to create other subsidiaries that can support and make the airline more profitable.
On the question of routes, the minister without being specific emphasized that the airline would start with regional routes and later expands to other routes and countries that government has bilateral agreements with.
If in the last quarter of 2018 as the minister says the airline takes to the skies, it will be the first time it does since 2002 when the airline collapsed.
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