Uganda gives green light to new national carrier launch

The launch of a new national carrier for Uganda has been on the table for the last few years and was first reported by Routesonline back in July 2013 after a senior Ugandan Government Minister revealed at that year’s 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.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has announced a plan to revive the Uganda Airlines brand as national carrier of the East African nation.  The President has requested the new Minister for Works and Transport to finalise negotiations with investors and to proceed with the rebuilding of the national airline with urgency.

“Ugandan travellers are suffering because of, apparently, not having a national airline,” said Museveni said while addressing the newly sworn in cabinet this month.

The launch of a new national carrier for Uganda has been on the table for the last few years and was first reported by Routesonline back in July 2013 after a senior Ugandan Government Minister revealed at that year’s 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 said it was too early in the process to detail what form the business will take.

Speaking exclusively to Routesonline during this year’s Routes Africa in Tenerife, Canary Islands, senior representatives of the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) confirmed that negotiations are currently taking place with officials from the airline to establish its initial network.

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 2016.

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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