What you need to know:
- Embassy opened. Last month, Foreign Secretary William Hague opened a new British embassy in Mogadishu. Growing interest from international community. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon visited the war-ravaged country last December, promising to relocate the United Nations’ political office for Somalia from Nairobi to Mogadishu.
- Refugee repatriation. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed are working on details of sending 560,000 Somalis back home following a discussion last weekend in Mombasa.
- Restoring security. Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta said both countries would hold regular engagements to deal with emerging issues of mutual interest.
In a bid to expand its network routes and offer better connectivity, Air Uganda has acquired a new aircraft to ply the Entebbe Mogadishu route.
The move is yet another indication of the improving security situation in Somalia. The new 50—seater CRJ-200 acquired on a long term lease from GECAS USA, will be the third CRJ-200 50—seater craft to serve Air Uganda’s existing routes and the new planned routes.
This acquisition is part of Air airline’s growth plan to increase capacity and widen its network. “This will be the first airline company to make direct routes from Entebbe to Mogadishu to help passengers easily reach their destinations,” Mr Comwell Muleya, the Air Uganda chief executive officer, said upon commissioning the new plane on Sunday.
Kenya’s Africa Express is also said to be plying the Nairobi-Mogadishu route and occasionally moving to Entebbe when they (Africa Express) have many passengers coming to Uganda. Other International airline companies plying Mogadishu routes include Turkish Airlines.
Mr Muleya said the new aircraft has completed the sea check and is in proper condition to aid the company open up new routes.
“The new aircraft is going to facilitate our operations to the new planned routes but also enable seamless service on our current network. Therefore, we are very excited about this acquisition and believe that is part of the tremendous growth Air Uganda will experience this year,” he added.
The Airline boss noted that they want to make Entebbe a regional hub looking at the growing number of passengers with Air Uganda to about 3,000 passengers every month.
Air Uganda flight captain Charles Karabarinda said the Entebbe-Mogadishu route could take about 1:40 hours although management had not decided how much the ticket would cost.