Sunday February 16 2014

Flying is not a luxury

Dr Francis Tusubira

Dr Francis Tusubira  


Dr Francis Tusubira is always on the plane as often as your average Kampalan boards a boda boda. And he is not a businessman. He is only an accomplished scholar, engineer and Rotarian. These have opened doors for the 62 –year-old that British Airways reward with Executive Club membership, a package presented to passengers who hit the 35,000 flight points marks.

Interestingly, some of Dr Tusubira’s certificates and medals, hang conspicuously at his Communications House Offices and are inscribed, Francis Tusu.

A very warm and simple man by any measure if you asked anyone who has met him first time. “The first time I travelled out of East Africa was 1977. That time, travelling within east Africa did not count as there were no boundary restrictions,” he says, adding, “In 1977 I boarded a plane to Nairobi to process my Canadian visa.” Since then using air transport has never been a luxury.

“People who think flying is costly don’t value their time. People should attach value to their time. Once you do, the means of transport is sorted,” the director of Knowledge Consulting says.

“Supposing my professional value is $1,000 a day, I cannot imagine losing the time because I’m recovering from a hectic journey by road. It is business logic, not just comfort!” Tusu says, with emphasis on planes being time savers not prestigious.
From the first day, he set his foot on a plane in 1977, Dr Tusubira has kept his passport close to his chest. His passport fills up fast.

“I’m arotarian, trainer and leader formerly overseeing over six countries in Africa but now Tanzania and Uganda. I have been a Rotarian since 1988,” says the engineer.
The nature of rotary work involves close work with the communities and initiating projects, in different countries.

Why the frequent air travel?
“Conventions in Birmingham, Lisbon, Barcelona, Osaka-Japan, Bangkok, name it. Every year comes with travel opportunities for my wife and I,” he says, adding, “that all places are unique. He has served as CEO of Ubuntu Network Alliance. “I have been very active in African development, nurturing regulators in ICT across west-north Africa, it keeps me moving and lobbying for support from Sudan to South Africa, West Africa, Congo, Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal and on the other side in the Arab world. Most of my travel is within Africa,” he explains.

“Boarding a plane back and forth till the body gets battered.” However, flying comes with comfort. “Some airlines have sufficient leg room, I love my comfort and a good nap. The difference between economy and business class is not so big really but if I am going to New York to meet say, World Bank officials, I would settle for the most comfortable option.”

Age comes with scaling down
“ I have had to scale down my flights to about 10 per annum which is still heavy. I love being home and flying is a convenient means of moving from point a to b. My wife and I love comfort when travelling,”the rotarian asserts.
His travel checklist
1. Customer care is very important. courtesy makes a difference.
2. Comfort of the flight. I love my shower so I would love to visit the arrivers lounge and refresh. Comfort usually comes when one becomes an executive club member, it comes with such benefits.
3. Cleanliness, there are some airlines whose washrooms you go to and never want to step there again
4. The drinks! A bit of wine before sleep especially on long night journeys. I work intensively during day so I want to relax, Dubai to Sydney for instance is 14 hours so a good nap after wine would do.
5. The cost. I’m business minded and always factor in value for money.