Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister for Finance, Matia Kasaija has said that he had initially opposed the idea of reviving the National Airline. According to Kasaija, when the idea was fronted in the cabinet he and other ministers were of the view that the government should slow down on the revival or form an East African Airline.
According to Kasaija, President Museveni was firm on the revival and asked him to secure funds for the purchase of the aircraft.
Kasaija was speaking on Tuesday at the ceremony to receive the Uganda Airlines second A330-800Neo Airbus at Entebbe VIP terminal.
The second Airbus A330-800Neo Aircraft, code-named Mt. Rwenzori landed after 10 am at Entebbe International Airport and was received by government officials led by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda. Other dignitaries included the French Ambassador Jules-Armand Aniambossou and the Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje. It is disinfected and water saluted before it was received.
Rugunda said that the government is optimistic that the National Airline will succeed and fulfil its core objectives of reducing air transport costs and also boost Uganda’s tourism and agriculture sectors.
Uganda National Airlines resumed operations in 2019, 18 years after its initial collapse. The airline collapsed in 2001 after operating for 25 years and the idea to revive it gained momentum in 2017.
In the 2018/2019 financial year, the government released 129 Billion Shillings for the revival and also allocated funds in the 2019/2020 and now 2020/2021 financial years to buy the two Airbus planes and four Bombardier aircraft, recruit staff among other activities.
Cornwell Muleya, the Chief Executive Officer Uganda Airlines says the arrival of the second aircraft completes the order for the airline’s six aircraft.
Muleya says the new aircraft will allow the airline to operate long haul flights to Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
Uganda Airlines had carried over 78,000 passengers from August 2019 to March 2020 to nine destinations. Since October when commercial flights resumed at Entebbe International Airport, the airline has reopened all the 9 routes following an increase in the number of passengers.
Muleya adds that in the last year, the airline has carried out recruitment and training for its staff to ensure smooth operations.