Ugandans expect Uganda Airlines to succeed

By John Odyek

Added 25th June 2019 03:18 PM

Godfrey Ahabwe Pereza, chairman, board of directors, Uganda National Airlines promised that at no time would the board allow any form of digression from its focus

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Godfrey Pereza Ahabwe, chairman, board of directors, Uganda National Airlines speaks during the inauguration of the board at the Kampala Serena Hotel. Looking on are other board members. (Photo by John Odyek)

Godfrey Ahabwe Pereza, chairman, board of directors, Uganda National Airlines promised that at no time would the board allow any form of digression from its focus

After nearly 20 years, the Uganda Airlines is being revived against backdrop of improving access to the landlocked country and reducing headaches experienced by Ugandans and her visitors seeking to fly out and back into the country.
According to the state minister for works, Aggrey Bagiire many Ugandans including his mother like others is more keen about what happens to Uganda Airlines than what happens to Uganda Revenue Authority.
“To my mother who is in Mayuge and other Ugandans, when you talk of Uganda Revenue Authority, she is not bothered, although she pays indirect taxes. Uganda Airlines touches the nerve of Ugandans,” Bagiire said.
This was during the inauguration of the first board of directors of the revived Uganda Airlines. The function took place at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
Chairman speaks out
Godfrey Ahabwe Pereza, chairman, board of directors, Uganda National Airlines promised that at no time would the board allow any form of digression from its focus.
“This kind of business is sensitive. I am that player you cannot afford to avoid when it comes to team work. We must put in place a governance charter that defines the roles of the different actors.
This is in order to avoid “accidents” emanating from crossing into each other’s lanes. We need to put in place a clients’ charter whose principal function is to promote our clients’ interests as well as protecting them from possible undesirable treatment by our staff,” Ahabwe said.
Azuba speaks out
The minister of works and transport, Eng. Monica Azuba explained that Uganda is a non-coastal country and the aviation sub-sector guarantees the country direct international access.
Azuba hinted that Ugandan passengers were getting inconvenienced on other airline flights being changed and made to wait long hours. She noted even short journeys such as Entebbe to Arusha take several long hours because of waiting hours and stopovers which can be less than one hour.
She urged the board to get income not only from passenger tickets and cargo transport but also from businesses associated with the airline such as catering and ground handling.
“The issue of profitability of the airline is of concern to Ugandans,” Azuba told the new board. She added that Air Mauritius and Ethiopian Airlines were making profits and so can Uganda Airlines. She said according to the business plan, Uganda Airlines is expected to make profits after six years of operations and therefore patience and positivity was needed.
She said the airline collapsed due to underfunding by Government, cancellation of flights and poor customer care. “The airline should value time, there should be no cancellations of flights and the service should be of quality,” Azuba said
“Government’s objective is to ensure that Uganda’s air links makes it one of the best connected countries in the world so that it can compete for economic growth opportunities. To achieve this objective, Government came up with a strategy to leverage Uganda`s geographical location to become a regional hub for air transport,” Azuba said
She said setting up a national airline enhances the country’s competitiveness by reducing the cost of air transport and easing connectivity to and from Uganda.
She said following the arrival of the first two bombardier aircrafts on April 23, 2019 commercial operations are expected to commence in July 2019.
The ministers said the government is undertaking many interventions in the aviation sector which are aimed at developing Uganda as an aviation hub such as upgrading and expanding the infrastructure and facilities at Entebbe International Airport.
She said Government is undertaking the development of Kabaale International Airport in Hoima to support the oil and gas sector. The construction works are ongoing currently at 23% progress.
“I hope that the enthusiasm that fueled the establishment of the airline will accompany its work throughout the years to come. Its success will make a substantial contribution to the development of Uganda and the EAC,” Azuba said. 
The board consists of Godfrey Ahabwe Pereza (chairman),  Benon Kajuna, director of transport will represent ministry of Works and Transport,  Godfrey Ssemugooma, assistant accountant general will represent ministry of finance, Catherine Asinde Poran,  head of client coverage, Stanbic Bank Ltd.
Other members are; Rehema N. Mutazindwa, head human capital management at Pride Microfinance, Charles Hamya, former managing director Multichoice Uganda and Gotv Uganda Ltd and Stephen Aziku Zua, member national airline task force, flight engineer at the Southhall College of Technology, London.

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