By Spy Uganda
Uganda Airlines on Wednesday added a fifth weekly flight between Entebbe and Johannesburg, another route that is projected to award the Airline millions of dollars annually.
Sources have revealed that the Airline CEO Jenifer Bamuturaki came up with this idea after the number of passengers flying between Entebbe and Johannesburg increased by over 1000% compared to Q1 2022. The airline will operate the Bombardier CRJ900 every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday, while the Airbus A330 will fly every Friday.
The addition of a fifth flight was met with great reception by Uganda Airlines passengers. It comes as a result of the easing of COVID-19 protocols over the last ten months in both countries. Travel requirements for passengers traveling through Entebbe Airport are now as before the pandemic.
Entebbe & OR Tambo – Two Major Hubs In Africa
Entebbe and Johannesburg airports are Uganda and South Africa’s biggest airports and among Africa’s busiest. Entebbe International Airport (EBB) is Uganda’s only international airport, with several projects taking place. Upon completion, the terminal building capacity will be enhanced from the current 2 million to at least 3.5 million passengers in 2024.
According to figures released by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) last week, the airport has seen increased passenger traffic with ongoing expansions. At least 149,375 passengers traveled through Entebbe in January 2023, compared to a total of 110,547 pax in January last year. 72,934 passengers were flying into Uganda while 76,441 were departing, resulting in a daily average of 4,818 passengers in transit.
OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) is Africa’s biggest airport and the second busiest on the continent. For the fiscal year 2022/23, the airport handled over 11.6 million passengers. About 4.5 million passengers were on international flights, while 6.6 million traveled domestically.
The number of passengers traveling through Johannesburg has increased by 2 million compared to FY21/22, which saw about 9.6 million travelers. That year, 6.7 million passengers traveled domestically, while only 2.5 million flew internationally. These figures drastically increased from the 4 million handled in FY20/21 when world air travel was at its lowest.
Although OR Tambo has not seen record figures post-pandemic, these latest figures indicate that both Entebbe and Johannesburg airports are significant hubs for passengers traveling to and from Africa. Many African airlines serve this route, including Airlink, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, and RwandAir.
Ties Between Uganda & South Africa
Uganda is South Africa’s 15th-largest trading partner in Africa, with aviation playing a significant role in connecting the two nations. Between 2017 and 2021, the trade revenue reached over $160 million, which the two countries agreed was below potential. Pre-pandemic, South Africa’s exports to Uganda increased from $120 million in 2017 to 160 million in 2018.
On February 28, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni flew to South Africa to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa. The meeting aimed to strengthen bilateral trade between the two regions via Entebbe and Johannesburg. Museveni and his delegation also participated in the Uganda-South Africa Trade Investment and Tourism summit.
Organized jointly by the corresponding governments, the summit provided a platform for the business community and government agencies to identify existing and potential business and investment opportunities. They explored development opportunities in agriculture, tourism, oil and gas, transport, and logistics.