Business

Uganda Air Cargo to start passenger flights

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By JULIUS BARIGABA

Posted  Monday, October 26  2009 at  00:00
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After several years in business limbo, Uganda Air Cargo Corporation is set to widen its horizons.

The corporation recently acquired two Y-12 aircraft worth $7 million from China, and plans to use them on passenger flights.

And just last year, it revamped its cargo services.

General manager Fred Guyina Kyankya told The EastAfrican last week that the corporation is eyeing the growing market for chartered passenger flights to East African destinations and to the Great Lakes regions.

“We won’t do scheduled flights — not in the immediate future. But there is particular need for these services, particularly by the Ministry of Defence and the government,” he said.

However, the firm, whose operations have mainly been restricted to cargo haulage, is yet to get the greenlight from the Civil Aviation Authority to start passenger flights.

“They are in the final process of securing a licence for passenger services. They still have to clarify a few technical issues,” said Vianney Luggya, the authority’s public relations officer.

Indeed, Mr Kyankya said the company had some “operational specifications” to sort out before the regulator can renew the licence.

The airline’s core business is cargo, although it had a licence to operate passenger flights in the early 1990 when the charter flights market was still new.

But the licence expired, hence and this move to renew it.

Though the corporation has acquired two aircraft to move into the competitive passenger flights business, it is yet to grow its cargo fleet, which comprise a single aircraft — a 23-tonne payload Hercules Lock Heed C-130.

Officials say there are plans to expand this arm of the business, although they did not indicate a timeline.

“Our thrust will continue to be cargo haul, because it’s much more stable. We know there is competition in passenger business but the sector is also growing. We have one plane for cargo and there are plans for expansion,” an official said.

UACC is the aviation arm of the Ministry of Defence. Being government owned, it is the de facto carrier of government officials and the army.

The corporation has been in existence since 1994, when it was established by an Act of Parliament.

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