Uganda Prime Minister says Nation is soon Commencing Process to Revamp National Airline

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Ugandan government has started the process of reviving the country’s national airlines that has been grounded for about 15 years, local media reported here on Thursday.

Addressing parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Ruhakana Ruganda told legislators that efforts to revive Uganda Airlines, which government liquidated in 2001 have kicked off, the state owned New Vision reported.

“In order to meet the economic and other strategic demands, responsible agencies have been tasked to come up with complete guidelines on putting up a national airline,” Rugunda, told Parliament.

The government in the wake of liberalization in May 2001 liquated Uganda Airlines after being indebted to a tune of 6 million U.S. dollars, down from 12 million dollars and its ground handling operations taken over by a private firm, depriving the airline of a key revenue source.

Ugandan Airlines was established in May 1976 and started its operations in 1977 with its hub at Entebbe International Airport, about 40 kilometers south of the capital, Kampala under the regime of former President Idi Amin.

By 1978, the national carrier had at least a fleet of 15 aircrafts fully owned by the East African country government.

The reviving of Uganda airlines is part of the efforts by President Yoweri Museveni to achieve the much anticipated middle income status by 2020.

The revival also follows October 2015 British Airways suspension of its flights between Entebbe International Airport and Heathrow, London, airport on grounds that the flights are not “commercially viable.”

The British Airways had operated in Uganda for 24 years after re-launching its flights to the country in 1991.

At his new cabinet inaugural address last month, President Museveni announced that the government will in the next five years encourage the setting of the national carrier.

The president, who has been in power since 1986, described the lack of the national airline as big shame and directed the works and transport ministry to urgently conclude discussions with prospective investors to start the process of setting up national carrier.

Experts believe the revival and establishment of the national airline will reduce the travel costs and employment opportunities for Ugandan citizens.

XINHUA