President Museveni has said he will take action against Uganda Airlines officials for the flag carrier’s delay in operating direct flights to the UK.
Museveni, who was meeting with UK Trade Envoy for Uganda and Rwanda, Lord Popat, as well as UK High Commissioner to Uganda, Kate Airey, said he would push the Civil Aviation Authority and Uganda Airlines to go through the paperwork soon to ensure the start of direct flights. but insisted that officials are lazy.
“In Amin’s time, we found the public service broken down. These people are totally parasitic. They are only waiting for a salary. What has helped Uganda to recover is the army and the sector private, despite the obstacles caused by the public service. They have helped the economy to recover,” he said.
“The airline people are well paid. Why can’t they fix the problem of direct flights? They are the enemy of the country.”
The president’s fury stems from concerns from the British trade envoy who asked about Uganda Airlines flights to the UK.
Lord Popat has asked the Ugandan government to work on the issue of launching direct flights to the UK by Uganda Airlines to promote tourism and investment.
“If Uganda is willing, we are ready to send our airmen here to help the CAA so that we can have direct flights to the UK.”
Flights to the UK
A year ago, Uganda Airlines was granted the right to start flights to Heathrow Airport in London, UK.
According to James Pearson, chief aviation development analyst, the national carrier has secured slots at Heathrow Airport.
“While not yet available for booking, it would operate five weekly flights using Airbus A330-800s arriving at 6.45am and departing at 9am,” Pearson said last year.
Explaining the rationale for Uganda Airlines granting rights to Heathrow, the chief aviation development analyst said more than 84,000 passengers flew on the Entebbe-London flight on a round-trip point-to-point basis. point in 2019, making Entebbe Africa’s second largest unserved market in London behind Harare Airport in Zimbabwe.
However, a year later, the flights never started.
Uganda Airlines Acting Chief Executive Jenifer Bamuturaki recently explained that the launch of direct flights to the UK has been postponed until June 2022.
She explained that Uganda had been informed by the British aviation body that the airline would be required to apply for a Foreign Carrier Permit as part of the changes caused by the Brexit regulations.
From 31 December 2020, all non-UK air carriers wishing to undertake commercial services to, from or within the UK are required to hold a Foreign Carrier Permit before that flight is undertaken.
According to the acting CEO of Uganda Airlines, this process is expected to take six months.
Uganda Airlines seeks to dominate the international space with several long-haul routes including Dubai, London and Guangzhou where the national carrier will use its two Airbus A330-800s.