The State Minister for Transport, Fred Byamukama has said Uganda Airlines is committed to its business plan despite COVID-19 disruptions.
Byamukama made the remarks on Saturday October 9, 2021 during the official launch of Uganda Airlines route to Dubai, the first international route for the national carrier. The event that coincided with Uganda’s 59th Independence Anniversary took place in Dubai at Occidental Hotel.
Uganda Airlines is using its newly acquired state-of-the art Airbus to ply the Dubai route.
“Although COVID-19 has disrupted the travel and the entire aviation industry, Uganda Airlines is committed to its business plan, the reason we are launching the Dubai route today,” said Byamukama, who is also Bugangaizi West MP.
He added that the Dubai route would have been launched earlier but it was delayed as COVID-19 took toll on Uganda, with the country registering many cases.
He however said, the situation is now under control, with Government embarking on massive vaccination campaign of her citizens.
“This route launch opens a new chapter of more convenient direct flights between Uganda and UAE, providing opportunities in international trade business, investments and tourism between our two countries,” the Minister said, adding that according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uganda’s exports to UAE stood at US$1.85bn in 2020, with the main products exported being precious minerals, high value crops and labour.
He added that Uganda Airlines’ Dubai route also gives the people in Dubai and UAE in general an opportunity to travel through Uganda’s hub, Entebbe to other parts of Africa.
On behalf of Uganda, Byamukama thanked the Government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) for what he called a cordial relationship between the two countries.
“I thank you for accepting Uganda to fly its national carrier in United Arab Emirates,” Byamukama said amid applause.
“This is a great beginning and it will create opportunities and develop further cultural exchanges in addition to business and trade,” the Minister added.
He also thanked the Ugandan Embassy in Dubai for playing a role in the successful launch of Uganda Airlines route to Dubai.
“I want to thank Ugandans for choosing to fly Uganda Airlines. I was told the maiden flight to Dubai (on October04, 2021) had over 80 passengers and the second flight yesterday (October 08, 2021) had over 200 passengers,” he said, adding: “You can see how fast Ugandans have loved their own baby. As we go forward, we shall progress very well.”
The Minister further thanked the Ambassador for protecting Uganda’s image, noting that every corner of Dubai has Ugandans working diligently.
He urged Ugandans working abroad to work hard, save and invest back home.
The Acting CEO of Uganda Airlines, Jennifer Bamuturaki said the airline will compete with giants in the aviation industry by offering competitive fares and services. She added that the national carrier will soon launch London and China routes.
Independence celebrated in style
To celebrate Uganda’s 59th Independence Anniversary, Ugandans wore their traditional attire (gomesi for women and tunics/kanzu for men) as they were hosted to a sumptuous dinner.
The event was graced by officials from UAE Government, General Civil Aviation Authority of UAE and Airbus.
Uganda Airlines started commercial operations in August 2019 and operates a fleet of four (4) CRJ900, and two (2) Airbus A330-800neo.