By Titus Kakembo
Traders and other organizations transacting business in South Sudan are beaming with smiles of satisfaction after Ethiopian Airlines was granted permission to operate direct flights between Entebbe and Juba starting next week.
This was done in a bid to fill the vacuum of travel options that followed the grounding of Air Uganda flights.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) communication manager, Ignie Igundura said they are doing everything possible to make aviation in Uganda meet international standards, safe, available and cost effective.
A hostess serves coffee aboard Ethiopian Airlines
“CAA is seeing to it that the aviation industry operates at expected ICAO standards,” said Igundura.
“The national infrastructure is regularly upgraded as we get ready for increased traffic following booming tourism and oil drilling in Hoima.”
With Ethiopian Airlines destined to get on its wings, the area manager Abebe Angessa says the plight of commuters is going to be history.
“We have had fruitful discussion and that is what we have always been looking at. We are setting aside a Boeing B767 200-sitter plane for that route as a way of accommodating the anticipated traffic. We are positive that this will be a great boost to both parties,” said Angessa.
“A trip Juba will cost from $480 and the flight time will take less than an hour. It is not about the traders only but also the government officials and NGO who are travelling to and from Juba,” said Angessa.
“We saw fares, following Air Uganda suspension, shoot up by $100 from $578 to $658 and $678 to $1,335,” cried a trader in Kikubo business hub.
“This was barely 30 days since three freighter comprising; Air Uganda, Transafrik Uganda Ltd and Ministry of defense owned Uganda Air Cargo were suspended. This has made queues on most bus terminals in the region longer.”