Kampala, Uganda – The Uganda National Airline Company Ltd, trading as Uganda Airlines has set August 28 as the official date for the company’s maiden commercial flight. The revelation was made this morning (Friday) at a media briefing led by the Airlines CEO Ephraim Bagenda and other officials including Cornwell Muleya the technical advisor and Jennifer Bamuturaki Director Commercial.
Speaking to reporters at the media engagement, Uganda Airlines CEO Mr. Ephraim Bagenda said, “We have a contract to deliver a national carrier and we can not do it without you the media.”
Jennifer Bamuturaki Director Commercial confirmed that the national carrier was indeed issued an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) on July 27th which in essence allowed it start commercial operations after three months of tests by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
She said that the airline had also acquired the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2 and 3 designator accounting codes – UR and UGD respectively.
“After getting these clearances from both IATA and CAA, you can be sure we will not be the underdog as we are here to grow big,” Bamuturaki said.
“As an Airline we are looking at three elements – People, Places and Culture and this helps us focus on promoting tourism Uganda,” she added
Bamuturaki said the two Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft purchased on April 23, 2019, have more leg room and cabin space, bigger overhead cabin bins than the Embraer, more headspace as well mood lighting – the first of its kind.
She said the airline had already set up booking offices in Kampala and Entebbe including at the airport.
The Airline will fly to Nairobi and Juba twice daily and Mogadishu, Somalia three times a day. The aircraft is also expected to fly to Dar es Salam and Kilimanjaro once a day, Bujumbura and Mombasa three times a week.
Asked if the airline wasn’t being over ambitious with just two aircraft, Bamuturaki said, “You cannot come up with a schedule without doing route research. During the research, we interfaced with various stakeholders including travel agents, corporates and many others before confirming the routes.”
And remember, two more CRJ planes and two Airbuses will be unveiled soon to add on the fleet, she added.
Upon unveiling the airlines promotional fares, Mrs. Bamuturaki said that they would run for two months. A return journey from Entebbe to Nairobi has been set at $278 (about Shs 1.026 million), Juba at $225 (Shs 831,150), Mogadishu $590 (Shs 2.1 million).
A return air ticket from Entebbe to Bujumbura will cost $292 (Shs 1.073 million), Mombasa $325 (Shs 1.195 million), Kilimanjaro $311 (Shs 1.143 million) while Dar es Salam will be $286 (Shs 1.05 million). All promotional fares are inclusive of taxes.
Africa Tembelea (AT) contacted some tour operators to share their views on some of the proposed fares – Andrew Kijooma’s main concern was that the promotional fares were actually not cheap and wondered what the actual cost would be after the promotion ends.
However, in comparison to a few regional airlines, Uganda Airlines promotional flight to Nairobi at $278, is lower than both Kenya Airways and RwandAir, which cost up to $350 (Shs 1.287 million) and $330 (about Shs 1.2 million) when flying with Kenya Airways and RwandAir respectively.