Air Uganda expecting to break even in 2009

Friday November 7 2008

By MICHAEL WAKABI

Flag carrier Air Uganda is projecting to break even next June as it celebrates its first anniversary this week.

Air Uganda, which is 100 per cent owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, was reporting results of a challenging first year that saw it carry 70,000 passengers amid a turbulent operating environment that saw more than 30 airlines wind up globally as oil prices spiralled, while a worldwide financial crisis squeezed travel budgets.

“For us it was a very good result to have survived the difficult environment that saw the industry post losses of $20 billion globally. All factors remaining equal, we should break even around June 2009,” chief executive Peter de Waal said at a media briefing.

“As part of efforts to post a positive result, we had to make some painful decisions such as the cancellation of our morning flight to Nairobi, but it was all in the interests of the airline,” he added.

Mr de Waal said these measures had helped Air Uganda evolve into a reliable carrier with schedule integrity, a good product and high levels of passenger satisfaction that will form the basis for future growth.

To make up for the loss of one frequency on the Nairobi route, the carrier upped its Juba service to seven days a week; load factors on the route have averaged 70 per cent in the past year.

Performance on the Nairobi route has also risen to about 60 per cent.

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