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Revival of Uganda Airlines underway

Monday, 10th August 2015

Efforts to revive Uganda Airlines are underway, Daily Monitor has learnt.

This newspaper has established that discussions on whether the government should lease or buy new aircraft have featured prominently in recent meetings.

It has also emerged that Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), an institution charged with reinstating the national carrier, has only six months to complete this task.
This means that by early next year, Uganda should be having a national airline in operation.

Although the UDC executive director, Mr Fred Ogene, declined to comment on the timeline by which the national carrier would be operational, saying it is too early to talk about the timeline. He said there is goodwill at all levels of government to quickly re-establish the national airlines.

"Government has agreed to put back the national carrier. And we (UDC) have been put in charge to ensure that happens. At the moment we are trying to establish its economic viability,¡± Mr Ogene said last week in an interview.

He added: "We are on track but we haven¡¯t decided yet on the model and structure to use. However, there is government good will and we are looking at doing our work quickly and in the best way possible.¡±

Worth noting is that this is not the first time there is an attempt to restart the operation of the national carrier.
In 2013, there were government plans to revive the carrier although the discussions did not happen until in October 2014, four months after Air Uganda licence was suspended by the Civil Aviation Authority due to safety concerns.
Since then, till last week, not so much was being said about the defunct airline.

The revival of Uganda Airlines comes in the wake of British Airways suspending flights between Entebbe International Airport and Heathrow, London, airport on grounds that the flights are not "commercially viable.¡± The suspension starts in October. British Airways has operated in Uganda for 24 years after re-launching its flights to Uganda in 1991.

Background

Uganda Airlines was the flag carrier of Uganda.
It was established in May 1976, and started operations in 1977 with its hub at Entebbe International Airport.

The Airline was founded as a subsidiary of the government-owned Ugandan Development Corporation (UDC) as a replacement of the services previously operated by East African Airways.

By 1978, the national carrier had an Aircraft fleet made up of 15 aircrafts fully owned by Uganda government
In the wake of liberalisation, efforts were made by the government to privatise the company, but all potential bidders pulled out, leading to the eventual liquidation of Uganda Airlines Corporation in May 2001.



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