ROUTES AFRICA: Ugandan Government Hints at Uganda Airlines Revival

A senior Ugandan Government Minister revealed at the recent Routes Africa forum in Kampala that discussions have once again taken place over the resurrection of Uganda Airlines as an at least partially state-controlled national carrier to boost trade and tourism into the East African country.  Speaking at a press conference to mark the launch of the event The State Minister for Works, Honourable Stephen Chebrot said a draft proposal was discussed just days before the forum but it was too early in the process to detail what form the business will take.

Speaking exclusively to The HUB during Routes Africa, a Government source confirmed that discussions are currently at a ministry level but are likely to be presented to the Cabinet once a key decision has been taken over the ownership of the proposed business.  “The big question remains should this be a 100 per cent Government owned business or should it follow the model being developed in other African countries and find a private investor that can bring industry experience,” explained the source.

The general concensus of opinion among senior Ugandan aviation officials was that the business was likely to get the backing of politicians and could come to fruition in a matter of months.  A senior source at the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) even suggested that negotiations have already been taking place over the last three months to ensure international traffic rights for the start-up to launch operation before the end of 2013.

Uganda Airlines was officially established in May 1976 following the collapse of multi-national carrier East African Airways and launched operations across Africa and into Europe from 1977.  However, in the late 1990s following years of losses a decision was taken by the Government to ease its burden and privatise the business.  Although a number of parties expressed an interest in the process no agreement was reached and resulted in the closure and liquidation of Uganda Airlines in 2001.  Murmours over the revival of the carrier have been reported for the past five years but have never gone beyond political whispers.

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