Uganda Airlines set for Dubai trips next month
Uganda’s National carrier, the Uganda Airlines will on 4th October make its mainden trip to Dubai since it’s revamption two years ago.
This route is an addition to the airline’s growing network and will be the first long-haul route it will take on.
Airline officials told Karibu Travel Magazine that the choice of Dubai was because of its popularity among Ugandan travelers for both leisure and business.
Until the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Dubai was one of the most preferred destinations for Ugandan Travelers according to data from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA).
To date even before the country experienced the 2nd COVID19 wave, Dubai is still one of the most popular routes out of Uganda.
“The UAE and most especially Dubai is important for both the formal and informal trade for Uganda. So we hope to tap into that demand for traders travelling to the middle and Far East,” an official at the Airline said.
The official added that considering Dubai’s strategic location, Uganda Airlines hopes to tap into the connectivity that the destination offers into Europe, the far West and Far East through signing interline agreements with bigger players operating in Dubai.
“Our Interline agreement with Emirates (airlines) opens up opportunities for the traveller on Uganda Airlines to fly to any Emirates destination while also generating opportunities in East, Central and Southern Africa,” the official noted.
Last month, the UAE put Uganda off its redlist allowing the airline to proceed with plans to fly to Dubai.
Airline officials believe this seemingly lucrative route will breath more life into it as it seeks to recover from the devastating effects of the corona virus lockdowns that saw crafts partly grounded, reduced passenger numbers and reduction of frequency on some regional routes.
According to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, 5,800 passengers were flying from Entebbe to Dubai every month by 2017 but the number is believed to have grown higher than this by now according to spokesman Mr Vianney Lugya.
By offering customers direct flights from Entebbe to Dubai, the airline will join Emirates airlines and Fly Dubai which currently ply this route.
The airline that is currently plying regional routes using four bombardier CRJ900 crafts has for months now been planning to embark on long haul routes after it acquired two bigger Airbus A330neo crafts.
In addition to its already existing regional network, the airline had planned to fly to Guangzhou , Dubai, London and Mumbai by September but a series of issues had them push the dates to between October this year and early next year .
Initially, the airline had not yet acquired the Air Operating Certificate for its new two Airbus crafts from the regulator, the Uganda Civil aviation Authority which left the two crafts grounded at Entebbe Airport. The Airline got the AOC for the bigger birds earlier last month.
Also, some countries like UAE and the UK to which it intended to fly had redlisted uganda following a spike in the cases of the corona virus cases in the country.
Uganda still has India on its red list to control importation of new corona virus variants and therefore the airline can not fly there as yet.
For China, works and transport minister Gen Katumba Wamala said that talks are still ongoing to acquire bilateral air agreements to allow the airline land in Guangzhou.
Currently, the airline plies regional routes to Nairobi, Mombasa , Kilimanjaro, Juba, and Mogadishu.
Others are Dar es Salaam, Kinshasa, Harare, Zanzibar and Johannesburg