Monday, August 12, 2013

► UGANDA: Government outlines its initial fleet requirements for Uganda Airlines 2.0.

Uganda Airlines logoKampala is moving ahead with plans to resurrect defunct national carrier, Uganda Airlines (QU), following reports that government has already outlined its intended fleet requirements for twelve aircraft needed to service regional and international routes.

(Clinton Groves)
Quoting a government source, Bloomberg News states that seven (type unspecified) aircraft will be acquired for international operations while another five (type also unspecified) will also be bought for regional flights. While no mention of any domestic services has been made, it is assumed the new national carrier will also serve various local destinations as the Central African country has designated five upcountry airports namely Arua,  Soroti, Pakuba, Kidepo and Kasese as "exit points" due to be upgraded, along with Entebbe International Airport, as part of its USD400million aviation infrastructural upgrade initiative.

Critics of the venture, among them Prof. Waswa Balunywa, the last chairman of Uganda Airlines before its dissolution in 2001, have slated the move as premature, claiming among other reasons that Uganda's economy is, at present, too small to sustain a national carrier the likes of which will compete with Air Uganda (U7), a privately-run airline funded by the Aga Khan Foundation. He also points to the difficulties the carrier would face in terms of the viability of its planned international flights given the size of the airline in relation to other foreign carriers. Prof Balunywa states their access to economies of scale allow them to significantly reduce their overheads thereby allowing them to uncut the Ugandans.