Cabinet approves revival of Uganda Airlines

Sunday March 12 2017

A Uganda Airlines aircraft. The Cabinet has

A Uganda Airlines aircraft. The Cabinet has approved plans to revive the national carrier. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Cabinet has approved a proposal to get the Uganda Airlines project off the ground.

A key aspect of the decision is to get on board a transactional adviser to guide the process.

Works minister Aggrey Bagiire, who is at the heart of the project, told the Sunday Monitor that since the political leadership had already explained the reasons for reviving the national carrier, as listed in the Second National Development Plan (NDPII), the approval was expected.

A debate

“Whether we need a national carrier or not is no longer a debate,” Mr Bagiire said.

“It is true the matter came up in Cabinet but it would be treasonable for me to discuss what was discussed,” he added.

The transactional advisor will also look into how the new national carrier would run and other key variables of the project.

Specific timelines

Although the revival plan also includes specific timelines, sources familiar with the matter told the Sunday Monitor that the national carrier was not about to fly any time soon as had been hoped, owing to financial setbacks and other structural challenges.

Uganda used to have a national airline, established in May 1976 under the Idi Amin government.

However, Uganda Airlines was liquated in 2001 over heavy debts of more than $6 million.

Ticket prices

The liquidation did not settle in well with a number of stakeholders, who blamed the government for deliberately killing the airline.

During his inaugural address to Cabinet last year, President Yoweri Museveni said the lack of a national airline was “a big shame,” criticising Kenyan, Ethiopia and South African “brothers” for ditching the comradeship and instead opting to exploit Ugandans.

National airlines of those countries, which fly through Uganda, were accused of charging exorbitant ticket prices.