UGANDA – Aviation experts have called for more concerted efforts towards improving corporate governance at Uganda Airlines as it secured departure and landing slots at London Heathrow and Dubai International airports after almost 20 years.
The direct flight from Entebbe shall now lead to London Heathrow using the new Airbus A330neo at 6:00am, a prime time for business travelers and considered one of the most coveted slots at the airport.
“Travelers to and from Uganda can now make direct flights into the heart of Europe and the Middle East. Uganda Airlines secured departure and landing slots at London Heathrow & Dubai International Airports, a move that will greatly boost Uganda tourism and exports,” said authority in a statement.
According to Captain Francis Babu, the move to secure landing slots in London comes at no surprise and this he hopes, will be a big blessing to the aviation sector.
“It is a good start and we hope that they will be able to sustain it. However, certain things must be done right at the top of Airlines to increase the Airlines chances of survival and breaking events. I think it is time for the management to get in there and make business out of it,” he advised.
Babu explained that London as a route is very important and he believes there is a lot of traffic that comes in as the East African region into London; whether it will be successful, only time will tell.
Uganda Airlines also signed an agreement with Airbus Flight Hour Services Company, a subsidiary of Airbus that will cater for spare support services for the national carrier’s two A330-800neo aircraft.
This happened during the ongoing Dubai Airshow at the Al Maktoum Airport in Dubai where Uganda Airlines is the only East African airline showcasing at one of the largest and most successful air shows in the world, connecting aerospace industry professionals.
“We have signed a Flight Hour Services Agreement with Airbus. Mikhail Hoare, Airbus President Africa and the Middle East signed for Airbus while Jenifer Bamuturaki signed for Uganda Airlines,” the national carrier tweeted on Monday, November 15, 2021.
Uganda Airlines Acting Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Bamuturaki believes the move will ensure that the airline has constant access and supply to required spare parts in a timely manner, all aimed at facilitating customer travel experience.
“The alternative would have been to buy our own spares, which would require an astronomical capital investment running into hundreds of millions of dollars. But with this signing on board now, it means that Airbus will ensure spares availability for Uganda’s aircraft using their money. In simple terms, they will be investing in our spare parts supplies as we keep on the move making money to pay back,” Bamuturaki said.
Uganda Airlines recently started international flights using its two Airbus aircrafts and currently plies the Entebbe to Dubai route and plans are also underway to start flying to China and London among other international destinations for the continent’s youngest national carrier.