Shipping & Logistics

Uganda steps up competition for Kenya Airways with new aircraft

UgandaAirlines

The Uganda Airlines A330-800 neo taking off from Tolouse, France. It arrived in Entebbe on December 22, 2020. PHOTO | POOL

geraldandae

Summary

  • The plane was the second Airbus for the neighbouring country in less than a month after it acquired another one in December 2018.
  • Air Tanzania is also flying to Guangzhou, Johannesburg and Lusaka, the routes that the national carrier also flies.
  • Kenya Airways has at least four daily flights to Dar es Salaam, five to Entebbe, four to Lusaka and at least one daily flight to Livingstone (Zambia). KQ also flies to two other cities in Zambia.

Uganda has heightened competition in the aviation industry with the announcement that it plans to introduce flights to Dubai, London, Guangzhou and Mumbai, the routes that are currently serviced by Kenya Airways.

These are some of the popular routes for the national carrier and the move by the Uganda Airlines to start flying to these destinations means it will eat on KQ’s market share, considering that Uganda is one of the profitable routes for the carrier.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) has been a major regional hub and passengers from Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi have been connecting through KQ to countries such as Dubai, London and China.

Uganda Airlines recently acquired a large capacity A330-800neo to service the long haul flights from its hub in Entebbe.

“We are going places this new year, from Entebbe to popular destinations around the world… Dubai, London, Guangzhou, Mumbai… coming soon,” said Ugandan Airlines on its Tweeter handle.

Uganda Airlines acquired two aircraft in April last year as it started plans of reviving its national carrier to ply regional routes before expanding to Europe and other destinations.

Founded by former dictator Idi Amin in 1976, Uganda Airlines was liquidated in the 1990s by Mr Museveni under a broader programme to privatise troubled state firms and open up the economy.

But last year Uganda started pursuing plans to relaunch the airline to share in East Africa’s growing aviation business.

Mr Museveni is on record complaining about fares being charged by Kenya Airways on the Entebbe route due to limited competition and the absence the Ugandan national carrier.

This signals the Ugandan carrier will be keen to trigger a price war on the route.

All East African countries are now poised to have national carriers by the end of this year as Burundi, which has lacked a national carrier for years now plans to launch one.

In January last year, Tanzania received Airbus 220-300, in addition to the previous fleet, in readiness for international flights both within and outside the continent.

SECOND AIRBUS

The plane was the second Airbus for the neighbouring country in less than a month after it acquired another one in December 2018.

Air Tanzania is also flying to Guangzhou, Johannesburg and Lusaka, the routes that the national carrier also flies.

Kenya Airways has at least four daily flights to Dar es Salaam, five to Entebbe, four to Lusaka and at least one daily flight to Livingstone (Zambia). KQ also flies to two other cities in Zambia.

Ethiopia Airlines, one of KQ’s fiercest rivals, has been reviving some of the stalled national carriers, mainly in the southern Africa region where it operates a substantial number of flights. Ethiopian Airlines is also seeking to set up hubs in southern, central and the Horn of Africa.