By Spy Uganda
Entebbe: Over 200 jobless Ugandans are set to scoop jobs at national carrier as Uganda Airlines plans to commence self-handling in a phased rollout, a move that will see the company save over shs5.9 billion annually which it has been paying to DAS handling company since inception.
Currently, DAS Company does ground handling for Uganda Airlines, but its contract expires this August 31st and the current management is ‘reluctant’ to renew the same.
In the Business Implementation Plan, Uganda Airlines plans to start with the Ramp activities (Ramp, Loading, Baggage etc) and the second phase will see the national carrier take on the full operations with Passenger handling activities.
According to our well placed sources, the move is intended to increase the company’s revenue base by reducing on avoidable expenses like hiring expensive private handlers when they can actually train local Ugandans for the job.
“In the third phase, the Airline will embark on third party handling, by attracting business from other airlines operating at Entebbe International Airport,” an inside source told our Spy.
The Company will join other successful airlines that do self ground handling like Emirates, KLM, SAS (Scandinavian Airlines), Lufthansa, Ethiopian, Kenya Airways and RwandAir among others.
Presently, the source reveals that the national carrier spends approximately US$900,000 (about Shs3.19bn) annually in handling charges and equipment hire for the CRJ fleet.
With the expected A330 -800 neo entry into service, and the proposed weekly flights to Dubai and London Heathrow, the costs would almost triple the CRJ cost (about Shs9.57bn). This amount once saved, through self-handling will eventually be re-invested into the company’s other projects like Third party handling, Business Lounge and Training through provision of internationally accredited courses as well as customer product development projects, highly placed source revealed.
Spy Uganda understands that the current handler DAS, had a one-year contract and it was awarded in view of starting self-handling which ends August 31st 2021.
Credible sources say Uganda Airlines has already purchased an assortment of equipment (now in storage) to handle both Aircraft types, having arrived as far back as March 2021, and the Organization is currently undergoing a shortlisting process for skilled manpower that will join the Airline for the self handling process once the current one expires.
The recruitment commenced early 2020 but was delayed due to the global lockdown following the covid-19 pandemic, a source said, adding that they are confident that once they have the skilled manpower on board, the Airline would commence the project in time with the planned start dates.
This project is expected to contribute to the individual development of the staff with employment base being increased by over 200 new staff, and remunerations will have a positive ripple effect to many households.
“The recruitment process will see over 162 individuals in the first phase and as the Airline moves to third party handling, our numbers will grow by 30% to manage and handle these operations,” the source said.
Uganda Airlines joins other successful airlines embracing self ground handling. Some of the notable airlines doing own self handling include Emirates, KLM, SAS (Scandinavian Airlines), Lufthansa, Ethiopian, Kenya Airways and RwandAir.