Skys clear for AKFED’s Air Uganda

Air Uganda is the third national carrier in Sub-Saharan Africa to be set up through the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development and Meridiana Eurofly, Italy based airline-operating flights in Europe, America and other parts of Africa.

Skies clear for Air Uganda

Air Uganda has acquired landing rights to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, and Juba


IN a matter of days, the long anticipated Air Uganda will start its first commercial flights out of Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport.

This follows the acquisition of landing rights to Nairobi – Kenya; Dar es Salaam – Tanzania; and Juba in South Sudan. Several successful test flights have been conducted to these destinations and it is now all clear that finally Uganda will have a national flag carrier after more than a decade of obscurity from the air transport industry.

“We got the official clearance on Friday, November 9. This means the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority confirmed the traffic rights for us to fly to Nairobi,” Mr Vittorio Scabbia, the commercial director said on phone from Arusha during a test flight.

The airline immediately made test flights to Nairobi on November 10, then another to Kilimanjaro last Sunday.

The acquisition of landing rights and the imminent launch now means Air Uganda will be only the second airline to ply the Entebbe-Nairobi flight routes after Kenya Airways that has dominated the route since the demise of Uganda Airlines.


“We applied for the rights [landing rights] in September and only received them in November. Tanzania was quicker,” Mr Scabbia said.

This is also the fifth Ugandan-based airline to launch operations out of Entebbe International airport after the collapse of Uganda Airlines.

Last week, Air Uganda Chief Executive Officer Pietro Niedda said they will run test flights for about one week in preparation for the official launch.

“The necessity of a national carrier for Uganda can not be overemphasised, especially on high frequency routes within the region that are critical to the economy,” Mr Niedda said.

“We therefore expect that Ugandans will feel enormous relief with the resumption of the service after nearly a decade of absence from the skies.”

Weekly schedules will include two daily flights to and from Nairobi departing from Entebbe at 7am and 6pm, three weekly flights to Juba on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and four weekly flights through Arusha to Dar-es Salaam.

The airline has set a common introductory flight rates at $95 one way and $169 for return minus taxes on all routes. There is also a special offer for family travels and students. During the inaugural period, the airline will also offer a 50 per cent discount on travel arrangements made two weeks in advance.

Air Uganda is the third national carrier in Sub-Saharan Africa to be set up through the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development and Meridiana Eurofly, Italy based airline-operating flights in Europe, America and other parts of Africa.

It is part of the Celestair Group, comprising of other airlines in Africa like Air Mali and Air Burkina in West Africa. The arrangement allows the airlines to tap into common systems, shared experiences, marketing tools and integrated systems among other resources.

Mr Niedda said the airline expects to launch its commercial flights by November 15 ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

“So far several continental airlines have expressed interest in offering Air Uganda connecting flights to the US, Europe and the Far East, which is a clear indication that they are appreciating our presence and potential in the market,” Mr Niedda said.

As Air Uganda takes to the skies, many Ugandans frustrated by several false start-up flights will take a back seat and wait anxiously.

Africa One and Alliance Air have all vanished; East African Airlines suffered a serious business paralysis and most recently the Victoria International Airlines suffered a still birth.

Nearly a decade since Uganda Airlines was liquidated, Uganda has suffered the embarrassment of not having a national carrier.

Ethiopian Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Emirates Air, Egypt Air, British Airways, South African Airways and Kenya Airways are some of the international airlines plying into Uganda.

Others are Air France, Martin Air, MK, Avient, Air Navette, Brussels Air, Rwandan Express, UN Monuc and UN Mission.

The airlines have seen a market niche in the landlocked tourist destination and are doing everything possible to see that they maintain their presence.

Kenya Airways, which has dominated the Entebbe-Nairobi, operates four daily flights to Nairobi. The coming in of Air Uganda will break Kenya Airway’s monopoly on the route that has raised a lot of concerns.

Being the only operator on the lucrative route, Kenya’s national carrier has been running battles with passengers who accuse it of overbooking, overcharging and poor customer service.


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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

3 thoughts

  1. Congs Air Uganda…Good you will break the monopoly of KQ which had started taking advantage of us travellers i.e. high fares, cancellation of one’s flight, over booking…..

    Competition is healthy and makes services better, Air Uganda should strive to survive not collapse like all the rest.

    All the best….


  2. let us fly with air uganda,

    Earlier experiences will help, but make sure this time:
    1) effective use of all aviable resources, including human, epuipment( aircraft utilization and selecting optimal aircraft for the service), and cost control.
    2) market watch and hearing post for customers concern, in order to be ahead of the competitors.
    3) Business promation through best means, but make in place the recieving trained customer service staff.

    all wishes
    shakib dhowre


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