National carrier Uganda Airlines has set August 28 as the launch date of its maiden flights to four destinations in the region. This ends nearly 20 years of absence from the skies.
The revived airline, which recently got its Air Operation Certificate, announced on Friday plans for two daily flights to Nairobi and Juba, one daily flight to Dar es Salam and four weekly flights to Mogadishu.
The airline bought four Bombardier CRJ 900s for regional flights, two of which arrived in the country on April 24 . The other two are expected in early September.
The carrier plans to increase the number of destinations to include Bujumbura (three times weekly), Mombasa (three times weekly), and Kilimanjaro (daily) from September 13.
However, the two aircraft due to in September will remain grounded for at least two weeks pending clearances although authorities believe this will not disrupt their planned schedule.
The airline’s marketing manager Jenifer Bamuturaki said their aim was to offer a service that would attract customers within the region, and to market destination Uganda.
“We want our presence to disrupt the market. We have not come into this market as underdogs,” she said.
The company has also listed tentative rates, which will be promotional for two months from the commencement of the flights.
The two month promotional rates for return tickets are $278 for Nairobi, $225 for Juba, $590 for Mogadishu, $286 for Dar Es Salaam, $292 for Bujumbura, $325 for Mombasa and $311 for Kilimanjaro.
The government has also made a down payment of Ush74 billion ($20 million) on two Airbus A330-800neos, which will be used for long haul flights and are expected to be in the country between 2020 and 2021.
Ms Bamuturaki said that the aircraft will enable the carrier to fly into the European market.
Uganda Airlines comes into the market at a time when regional peers are either strengthening or reviving their national carriers like Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya all of which have an eye on the regional market.
Uganda airlines is fully owned by the government, which committed to fund its revival. The airline is also in talks with bigger sector players to sign interline and re-protection agreements.
The company also has an ambitious plan to expand to Lusaka, Harare, Johannesburg, Accra and India following acquisition of landing rights.