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Uganda puts down deposit for six aircraft

15th June 2018

By: John Muchira

Creamer Media Correspondent

     

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In a significant step towards reviving its defunct national carrier, Uganda has paid deposits for six aircraft – four Bombardier CRJ900 and two wide-body Airbus A330-200 jets.

“We have [paid] deposits on the aircraft and are negotiating export finance for them with Canadian financiers,” says Works and Transport Minister Monica Azuba-Ntege.

Uganda Airlines has been grounded since 2001, when it collapsed as a result of mounting debt.

Other measures to revive the airline have included the incorporation of Uganda National Airline Company, the constitution of an interim board of directors, the appointment of senior management and the approval of the airline’s business plan by Cabinet.

The Uganda government aims to have the airline back in the skies in November and is making frantic efforts to mobilise $350- million to fund its revival.

Uganda believes the revival of the airline is crucial to stimulating the growth of other sectors of the economy, such as tourism and agriculture, and increasing competition in the region’s aviation industry, which is dominated by Kenya Airways.

The revival of Uganda Airlines is part of efforts by President Yoweri Museveni to elevate the country to middle-income status by 2020.

“The number of people using airplanes has increased and so has Uganda’s agricultural produce. “For us to ease the transport of produce, we need a national carrier,” says Azuba-Ntege.

She adds the ongoing expansion of Entebbe International Airport, in the capital, Kampala, is part of government plans to ensure Uganda Airlines has a competitive hub that will enable it to compete with other airlines.

The country is currently implementing a $200-million project to expand and upgrade the airport, with 33% of the works, including the construction of an aircraft parking apron, runways and taxiways, as well as a new terminal building, having been completed.

Entebbe International Airport has been experiencing capacity challenges as a result of a steady increase in passenger traffic from 781 400 in 2007 to 1.2-million in 2012 and 1.7-million currently. Over the next decade, passenger traffic is projected to increase at an average of 7% a year.

The airport has also witnessed a surge in the number of airlines flying into Uganda to 32.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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