Uganda Airlines flights to Kenya resumed on 27th August 2019 after nearly 18 years out of operation, in a move seen to boost regional integration and trade among the two countries.
Uganda Airlines Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ephraim Bagenda noted that while the airline is entering into an already crowded market, it has what it takes to find its space. It is expected to spark a price-war on fares with other airlines operating on the route.
“We are aware of the immense task that awaits us,” Bagenda said. “Our coming into the market which is already volatile doesn’t necessarily mean we will not be able to compete. Uganda Airlines presents another dimension to the travel industry and together with other key stakeholders will propel the aviation sector to greater heights.”
The Nairobi Entebbe route is already being served by Kenya Airways, which is a formidable competition to Uganda Airlines flights to Kenya, despite its current financial woes.
Meanwhile, KQ’s budget airline JamboJet launched daily flights to Entebbe, Uganda, in January 2018, targeting the growing travel population of traders, business people and government workers as well as professionals attached to local and international organisations.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has previously complained over the high prices KQ charges on the route. Tickets of the Kenyan carrier go for Ksh26,485 for economy class. Jambojet charges Ksh 13,500 for a one-way ticket on the route while RwandAir tickets go for Ksh19,080.
According to East African Community and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary (CS) Adan Mohamed, the entry of Uganda Airlines into Kenya’s aviation space is significant in terms of promoting regional trade and integration and enhancing efficiency of travel within East African.
“The addition of Uganda Airlines to our regional and country networks demonstrates Uganda`s commitment to improving connectivity on the African continent while creating new opportunities in the region,” said the Mohamed.
With the increasing demand for travel, the launch of Uganda Airlines will east travel in East Africa as travellers will have shorter and direct flights, frequency and convenience.
Entry of Uganda Airlines will improve the efficiency of travel in the region.
“As Kenyans, we consider the launch of Uganda Airlines flight to Kenya as a powerful tool to create travel efficiency, promote more trade and investment, generate revenue and create jobs for our citizens in the two countries,” said Mohamed.
Uganda Airlines flights to Kenya would initially start with Nairobi twice a day and later to Mombasa by mid-September. The airline will be flying to seven new destinations from Entebbe including Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Bujumbura, Juba, Kilimanjaro and Mogadishu.
Speaking on Tuesday during the launch of Uganda Airline commercial Flights, Uganda Minister of Works and Transport Monicah Azuba said the launch represents another commitment by the Ugandan Government in its effort to promote regional trade and integration.
“The airline industry is a fast-growing industry in the domestic, regional and global markets and air transport has made the world become a global village,” she said. “The entry of Uganda Airlines in the regional aviation industry will improve the efficiency of travel within the region and enhance the ease of doing business in the region.”