Air Uganda will launch a new route to Mogadishu and reintroduce flights between Entebbe and Kilimanjaro International Airport following the recent acquisition of a third Bombardier CRJ-200 jet.
The new 50-seater aircraft, leased from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) USA for an initial five-year period, will help harmonise the fleet around the CRJ and consolidate the firm’s growth in the regional market.
The four-times a week flights to Kilimanjaro will resume this month while the three-times a week to Mogadishu will follow in July.
“The new aircraft will serve the two routes and also offer seamless service on our current networks,” said Air Uganda chief executive Cornwell Muleya.
The service to Mogadishu is targeting the growing number of Ugandan traders currently exporting food stuffs to Somalia via Nairobi, while the route to Arusha will be fed by commuters to the East African Community headquarters in the city and tourist traffic to northern Tanzania.
In this, Air Uganda will be joining Kenya Airways, which flies to Kilimanjaro daily via Nairobi and RwandAir, which serves the city three times a week.
The Mogadishu service will compete with African Express Airways, which has been flying Entebbe-Mogadishu four times a week.
Turkish Airlines is the only Western carrier currently operating flights to Mogadishu via Khartoum.
Uganda’s de facto flag carrier has been lagging in fleet development as its competitors Kenya Airways and RwandAir invested in new generation aircraft. The carrier currently serves six destinations from its Entebbe base.
Air Uganda carried 155,000 passengers in 2012, representing a 13 per cent share in a market of 15 scheduled airlines.