Tuesday, July 16, 2013

► UGANDA: Government proposal for Uganda Airlines 2.0 to go before cabinet shortly.

Uganda Airlines logoUganda's Works & Transport Minister, Abraham Byandala, says a government drawn-up proposal for the re-establishment of Uganda Airlines (QU) will shortly go before Cabinet for consideration marking the first tentative steps taken by Kampala to re-enter the domestic and regional aviation scene.

Uganda Airlines 707 in Nairobi
Uganda Airlines 707 in Nairobi (trecpeter)
According to Uganda's New Vision, the draft is currently being discussed by experts in the transport ministry, before going before Cabinet, where it claims, the political will to see the project through is "enormous".

The call to resurrect the national carrier also received parliamentary support in September 2012 when a report by MPs involved in the Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry recommended to Parliament that "Government should revive Uganda Airlines as one of the deliberate efforts to enhance the level of marketing the country internationally."

Among the core issues to be decided upon are whether or not the proposed carrier should be a 100% state-owned entity similar to that of Ethiopian Airlines (ET) or a Public-Private venture along the lines of Kenya Airways (KQ). The report claims that "several" private investors have already expressed interest in the plan. Previous reports had speculated about a possible buy-in of Air Uganda (U7).
The political will is enormous. Most Cabinet ministers will back it once it is presented before them. They are even blaming us for taking long to handle the issue. They say Uganda Airlines is a symbol of national pride,” a source said.
Mr Byandala, however, declined to comment on when Uganda Airlines would resume business or how long it would take for the airline to start operations after a Cabinet approval, though it is rumoured a possible venture could begin operations "before year end".

Ethiopian has been reportedly involved with Kampala in helping to plan the revival for Uganda Airlines though the extent to which Ethiopian has been involved or will be involved in future, is uncertain.

Kampala had attempted to privatize loss-making Uganda Airlines in the late 90s with offers received from South African Airways (SA), Air Mauritius(MK), British Airways(BA), Interair (D6), Kenya Airways (KQ), and Sabena(SN). In the end, only South African Airways submitted a bid for a 49% stake in the carrier, only to see it come to naught in the face of hefty opposition in the state legislature. With no bidders left, Uganda Airlines was liquidated in 2001.