By Spy Uganda
Uganda Airlines has completed feasibility studies on a number of routes the National Carrier plans to fly to. Some of the routes in question include Mumbai in India, London in United Kingdom, Goma and Lubumbashi (both in the Democratic Republic of Congo).
Owing to the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed so many things, Uganda Airlines-even when it had IATA (International Air Transport Association) figures, embarked on feasibility studies to assess the viability of routes it intends to fly to .
Shakila Rahim Lamar, the Corporate Affairs & Public Relations Manager at Uganda Airlines, says having had setbacks due to Covid- 19, they have just finalised feasibility studies of the said routes.
“We are working with the regulatory authorities in those countries for the necessary approvals to start flying to these destinations,” Lamar said in an interview.
This website understands that the National Carrier plans to launch about three new routes this year.
For London route, it is understood that the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) and Ministry of Works and Transport are working closely with the Airline to handle everything required for the Airline to commence operations in the third quarter of 2022.
Asked whether Uganda Airlines has increased frequency on certain routes given that now the world is relaxing travel restrictions, Lamar said: “The skies are open. Now that most countries have fully opened up and Covid-19 restrictions have been eased, we have seen some relative increase in travel on most routes, but we are still in a low peak season where travelers cut back on their travels. We are optimistic that we will be able to see passengers increase during summer and other holiday seasons coming up.”
Addressing the media in January this year, Jennifer Bamuturaki, the Ag. CEO at Uganda Airlines, said the key focus areas for the national carrier in 2022 include “investing in customer retention systems, seeking strategic partnerships, growing our cargo operations, network expansion and championing the COVID-19 fight by encouraging vaccinations.”
Having started commercial operations in August 2019, Uganda Airlines has expanded its network to 11 destinations since inception.
However, according to the airline’s business plan, in the 2nd year of operation, the national carrier had planned to have 18 and four (4) regional and international routes respectively, but this couldn’t be possible due to COVID-19 effects.
Some of the Uganda Airlines operational routes include Nairobi, Mombasa, Dubai, Kinshasa, Johannesburg, Juba, Dar es Salaam Mogadishu and Bujumbura.
Bujumbura, Juba and Mogadishu routes are the best performing, with a load factor of 70%.
“Juba and Mogadishu are on budget while Bujumbura is slightly below the budget,” Bamuturaki said in January 2022, adding that with full reopening of economies globally, the airline will post positive performance on most of the routes.
Uganda Airlines carried 154,245 passengers in 2021 compared to 93,780 in 2019 and 2020 combined.