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Economy

Uganda revives national carrier to rival Kenya Airways

Air Uganda plane at Entebbe International Airport
Air Uganda plane at Entebbe International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Uganda has officially revived its national carrier after acquiring two aircraft, upping competition on the Nairobi-Entebbe route that is currently dominated by Kenya Airways.

President Yoweri Museveni yesterday presided at the ceremony to receive the two Bombardier CRJ900 jets for the Uganda Airlines at Entebbe International Airport.

The carrier is expected to start operations in coming weeks. 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 to private enterprise.

But last year officials started pursuing plans to relaunch the airline to share in East Africa’s growing aviation business, move that places it in a battle with Kenya Airways and Ethiopia Airlines.

Mr Museveni is on record having complained 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.

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Jambojet, fully owned by Kenya Airways, is charging about Sh13,500 for a one-way ticket on the Nairobi-Entebbe route and RwandAir Sh19,080.

Kenya Airways charges Sh26,485 for an economy seat on the same route.

Uganda Airlines will start with flights to regional capitals like Nairobi, but eventually plans to launch direct long-haul routes to China and other Asian countries, whose tourists Uganda is keen to attract.

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