By Spy Uganda
Uganda Airlines has registered an increase in the number of passengers as economies across the world fully open up.
Shakila Rahim Lamar, the Corporate Affairs & Public Relations Manager at Uganda Airlines, says that following the reopening of the Ugandan economy in January 2022, the response has been encouraging, noting that passengers were still travelling even when the economy was not fully open.
“In January 2022, there was a 50% increase in passengers carried compared to January 2021. We are optimistic that with the full opening of the economy, Air travel will pick up, and Uganda Airlines will be the carrier of choice,” Lamar says.
Uganda Airlines carried 154,245 passengers in 2021 compared to 93,780 in 2019 and 2020 combined.
Uganda Airlines started commercial operations in August 2019 and operates a fleet of four (4) CRJ900 and two (2) Airbus A330-800neo.
The national carrier has expanded its network to 11 destinations since inception. However, according to the airline’s business plan, in the second 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.
In October 2021, Uganda Airlines commenced direct flights to Dubai using the Airbus A330 neo state of the art Aircraft and is keen to launch more regional and international flights with the easing of travel restrictions around the world.
It should be noted that United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently lifted the 6-hour Covid-19 test that has been a pre-requisite before travelling to Dubai.
Against the above background, Uganda Airlines appeals to passengers to exercise high levels of integrity regarding their PCR tests.
“This will enable the authorities in UAE to maintain the status-quo,” Lamar says, adding: “We also strongly encourage full immunisation in anticipation that the UAE may demand that only fully vaccinated passengers can travel to the UAE in the future.”
In a related development, Uganda Airlines is positioning herself to benefit from oil boom especially after the announcement of the Final Investment Decision.
“The Airline’s long-term strategy is to grow its cargo operations; the oil sector logistics are dependent on organised freight and cargo operations. Feasibility studies are underway to look at the cargo requirements of the oil sector and how the Airline can tap into it,” Lamar says in an interview.
In the related development, Government has suspended mandatory Covid-19 testing at Entebbe Airport, sources have told this website.
The government is said to have taken the above decision during the cabinet meeting that was held on Monday, February 14, 2022.
The directive to test all inbound travellers had been effected last year, in 2021. According to pundits, the suspension of COVID tests is likely to push the daily passenger traffic higher with in the next few weeks.