Uganda Airlines, the national airline of Uganda is expanding its global reach through a series of new destination launches, route introduction, and partnerships.
It is worth celebrating the milestone that the airline flourishes in its quest to woe West African business people and others to ‘’Fly the Crane’’ to the Pearl of Africa and the rest of Africa.
The carrier fulfilled its promise on October 7 and October 19, 2023, of operating maiden flights to Mumbai and Lagos respectively.
This brings the number of the airline’s routes to 13 and slowly rings the message of connecting, “The Pearl of Africa” to Africa and beyond.
Hopefully, it will stay that way, bearing in mind that the Lagos route is premised on linking Uganda to a market of more than 200 million in Nigeria or much more if it comes to the bigger scope of West Africa.
Uganda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Nelson Ocheger recently when the carrier launched services to Lagos said his country needs investors in agro-processing, social services, mineral exploration and exploitation, ICT, and infrastructure among others.
He assured Nigerians and potential investors that Uganda is a fast-growing economy, peaceful and stable.
The Works and Transport Minister, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala recently said the airline officials have given Uganda an early Christmas gift in the form of Lagos and Mumbai flights.
In order to make the Nigeria-Uganda route more open, and accessible for passengers to and from Eastern and Western Africa and beyond, two other cities in Nigeria, Abuja and Kano, have equally been approved as entry points for Uganda Airlines by the Nigerian government under the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between both nations in the spirit of Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM).
SAATM and YD aim at liberalizing intra-African air transport services in terms of market access and seamless air connectivity within the 54 African Countries.
The launch of flight services to Lagos by Uganda’s national carrier, Uganda Airlines would help to close the gap in the travel needs of travelers from West Africa and East Africa.
It equally affords connections between two regions of the continent to the world and one done in the spirit of Africa’s flagship policy of air transport liberalization otherwise known as the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) which tends to promote intra-Africa air travel.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar who was represented by Director of Airport Protocol in the Ministry, Ambassador Oludare Folowosele said Ugandan Airline’s operation was an opportunity to bridge West Africa and East Africa air transport hiccups, lamenting air connectivity as a major challenge in Africa wondering why Africans would travel to Europe first before connecting another African city while wasting over 12 hours on a trip that is normally three or four hours.
According to him, “It is ridiculous to go to Europe before connecting two African neighbouring countries. What we are doing today would lead to wealth creation, shortening of travel time from one country to another rather than depend on Europe all the time for flight connections.”
The journey for Uganda Airlines to commence flight services to Nigeria it would be recalled started on October 9th,2002 in Kampala, Uganda when the two respective Ministers of both countries responsible for Civil Aviation initiated an Air Services Agreement (ASA) with the ultimate desire of bringing about a direct flight from Entebbe, Uganda to Lagos.
Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) who was represented by Director of Air Transport Management in the Ministry, Hassan Ejibunu stated that aviation remains the best way for Africa to connect her people and promote inter-Africa business in line with Africa’s 2063 Agenda, as championed by the continent’s leaders.