President meets Airbus representatives, assures Ugandans, “Uganda Airlines will succeed”
Entebbe, Uganda| PPU| President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that once revived, the Uganda Airlines will succeed mainly because of the direct travel opportunities that it will offer its citizens in the diaspora, the business community and tourists. He said the airline would also benefit from the vast domestic travel opportunities.
President Museveni was speaking on Saturday during a meeting with Patrice Y. Bouedo, Vice President ATR Sales in Africa that works closely with Airbus Group at State House Entebbe.
Airbus Group is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services while ATR (Aerei da Trasporto Regionale or Avions de transport régional; Regional Air Transport) is a Franco Italian aircraft manufacturer headquartered in Toulouse Blagnac International Airport in Blagnac, France. It was formed in 1981 by Aérospatiale of France (now Airbus Group) and Aeritalia (now Leonardo) of Italy.
Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. It is a European leader based in Netherlands, providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft.
Uganda is looking to revive the defunct Uganda Airlines. Earlier this year, cabinet passed a resolution to revive the airline to boost the country’s air transport system and boost its trade and development prospects in the region.
Indian community a key factor
“I am convinced that Uganda airline will succeed mainly because of six factors: Ugandans in the diaspora, the Indian community, businessmen, tourists, regional traffic and internal travel,” Museveni said at the meeting.
Museveni explained that the Ugandans in the diaspora especially in South Africa, Canada and United State of America, and United Kingdom based Indians who were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin, are inconvenienced by airlines that must pass through other capitals, but once Uganda Airlines is revived, they will benefit from direct travel.
“Uganda has a captive travelling population. Many people want a flying schedule that suits them and yet most of the airlines look at nationalism and must first pass through their countries of origin,” he said.
He said that once the airline is revived, Ugandan tourist sites will be well marketed to the world in a way that no country would compete with Uganda.
“In terms of tourism, no country can compete with Uganda if we have an airline and promote our nice weather, wildlife and the other tourist attractions.”
The meeting was attended by Ugandan Ambassador to France Nimisha Madhvani, the Minister of Works and Transport Azuba Ntege, and other government officials.
Industrialization will boost airline trade
Museveni also said that Uganda airline will survive once revived because there are many industries developing in the country that will use the airline to export their products.
He said this would increase the number of exports and reduce of imports thus earning Uganda foreign revenue.
Museveni added that regional travel and internal travel would also ensure that the airline survives.
“Although Uganda is not big geographically, the road network is improving, there is a need among Ugandans to spend less time travelling,” he said.
He also explained that there are many Ugandans traveling and exporting cargo to Bunya in Democratic Republic of Congo, Juba in South Sudan, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Lagos and the airline would make their travel and business faster and more direct.
Patrice Bouedo reassures Museveni
Patrice Bouedo commended President Museveni on the move to ensure that the airline will have internal in country flights.
“What makes the success of an airline market is the feeder market. You need nationals flying within Uganda and not only abroad,” he said.
Bouedo also urged government to develop Soroti Aviation School saying that it was greatly linked to the airport industry through training of pilots, engineers and other aviation related jobs.