By Spy Reporter
Entebbe: It was excitement on April 23, 2019 as Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni received two Bombardier CRJ900 jets from Canada at the Entebbe International Airport. This officially marked the revival of Uganda Airlines after decades of ‘recess’.
Three years down the road, we assess how the national carrier is promoting the ‘Buy Uganda Build Uganda’ (BUBU) policy that is being promoted by Government in a bid to promote local produce but also create jobs for Ugandans.
Firstly, the national carrier employs over 300 Ugandans at the hub and about 60 foreign nationals in different departments (where a particular skill set is not available in Uganda) as well as in the destinations Uganda Airlines operates.
In the next phase when they start the much awaited ‘Self Handling’, the national Airline will be able to create over 600 jobs more for Ugandans, because they will now be in total control of most activities at the airport, there by creating more employment opportunities and cut expensive middle men.
It’s understood that in Uganda Airlines flights, mainly locally manufactured Ugandan products are used.
These include Kakira Sugar, Bond 7, Uganda Waragi, Wava Water, Endiro Coffee, Mukwano tea bags, Jesa Yoghurt and Jesa milk among others. But again, how could one forget to mention our delicious ROLEX chapati?!
A ‘Rolex’ is a traditional delicacy of Ugandan origin that started out as a road side snack made of eggs and chapatti. This was launched in 2016 by the State Minister for Tourism Hon.Godfrey Kiwanda.
Asked what the Airline considers before using Ugandan products/services, an official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the certification from Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and quality of the product and packaging are very key.
“Whatever we take on board should not be bulky for efficient use of space,” the source said, adding: “Whatever is taken on board should not have combustion ability to minimize fire hazards.”
Government has been encouraging Ugandans to fly their own (Uganda Airlines) as first choice to show patriotism. The State Minister for Works, Gen Katumba Wamala, previously noted that the airline will need to a lot of local support to compete favorably in the already liberalized sector.
Wamala said that since the renewal of the national airline was announced, many Ugandans have been skeptical and speaking ill of the project.
“Ugandans have a bad habit of de-campaigning their country. It is a bad habit that must be stopped. If you want your country to be like the other developed countries that you admire and shower with praises, you must support government plans in developing and strengthening the economy,” he said.
The national Airline is also expected to promote the country’s tourism sector.
At the recently launched Johannesburg route, the Airline partnered with Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to promote Destination Uganda by showcasing the ‘Pearl of Africa’ in the next three years.
The two organisations agreed to work together to run joint marketing and market research as well as collaborate in enabling Uganda’s other tourism players to participate in major African and international exhibitions.
This will also include jointly organized familiarization trips for travel agents, tour operators, press and bloggers, aimed at encouraging travelers to visit Destination Uganda and fly Uganda Airlines.
The two organizations agreed to also jointly develop Visit Uganda tour and travel packages for special events and holidays on Uganda Airline as well as develop new tourism products especially in ears of MICE (Meetings, Conferences and Events).