By Titus Kakembo
Ethiopian Airlines has begun offering daily flights from Entebbe to Juba since August 05, 2014. The maiden flight was booked to capacity leaving the airlines overwhelmed by bookings on the return flight. The new service comes after the suspension of Air Uganda flights, which left a vacuum on the route that connects Africa’s youngest nation; South Sudan.
Looking back, by 2000, there were few international airlines serving Entebbe International Airport, the nation's aviation gateway. Now the lakeside terminal hosts 17 international carriers, including direct flights from Amsterdam on KLM, London on British Airways and Dubai on Emirates Air. Passenger traffic through Entebbe is increasing at an average of more than 10% per annum.
“Going to Juba by road is like committing suicide,” says a regular commuter between Kampala and Juba John Nsereko. “And yet we have businesses and families in Uganda and South Sudan.
Adding that, there are goods that can be flown to Juba from Uganda.
“We pray Ethiopian Airlines provides us with passenger and goods flights. Time and safety is the way to travel in this era of globalization.”
Asked what Ethiopian Airlines has in store for her clients, the Uganda Country manager; Abebe Angessa said even the sky is no limit. “We have called upon our counterparts in the aviation industry who have no flights to Juba, to drop their passengers at Entebbe International Airport and we will shuttle them to South Sudan.” Adding that, “Ethiopian Airlines, is deploying the latest B737-800 New Generation with Sky Interior, enough leg space and capable of handling the demand.”
Before the introduction of this new route, Ethiopian Airlines has been flying to Juba via Addis Ababa. This took more time and cost a fraction more.
As Uganda becomes a regional trade hub of the great lakes region, aviation and internet are inevitable as economic growth is registered and strengthened.
“Ethiopian Airlines is playing her part by enabling greater investment, trade and business ties between the three countries by availing critically essential air connectivity," said Abebe.
An air ticket is $400 and traders will have an opportunity to transport their cargo from 1$ per kg. Departure is 2:oopm and arrival in Juba is 3:00pm. Due to demand in cargo sector we thought this will create an opportunity that many airlines in the region has failed to fill the gap.