Uganda Airlines launches direct flights to Nigeria 

Uganda Airlines. Photo | File  

What you need to know:

  • The inaugural direct flight is slated for October 19, with flights scheduled every Sunday, Monday and Thursday.

Uganda Airlines has launched direct flights to Lagos, Nigeria.

The inaugural direct flight is slated for October 19, with flights scheduled every Sunday, Monday and Thursday.

Speaking during the launch, the Uganda Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Ms Jennifer Bamuturaki, and last Friday said the move aims to enhance efficiency, expedite both the transit of commodities and the mobility of individuals between the two nations.

 Ms Bamuturaki said the passengers and cargo from Entebbe to Lago will now take four hours.

“Minus our services, it would take close to nine hours and the last time I travelled to Lagos and the flight was delayed in another airport. We are now reducing that to just four hours and this will increase potential between two countries,” she said.

She added: “The first flight takes off from Entebbe at 4pm. We are opening Uganda to an economy of about $504 billion.”

Uganda Airlines started offering commercial flights in August 2019 after nearly 20 years of inactivity, with many of their destinations in the neighbouring countries. The airline’s efforts to secure landing rights in 12 destinations were successful.

However, Ms Bamuturaki noted that they will need more aircraft to fulfil their mandate of connecting Uganda to the rest of the World

“We will need more aircraft by the time we launch London, Lusaka, Harare, Cape Town. Lusaka will be able to work with the SRG but will definitely need more aircraft,” she said.

Mr Adedayo Olawuyi, the Uganda Airlines Chief Commercial Officer, said Nigeria has one of the biggest economy in Africa with an estimated population of 220 million people.

“Nobody serves a direct route between Entebbe and Lagos. The current data between Entebbe and Lagos [shows that] we have 40,000 passengers a year. But we intend to fly this route three times a week and we will deploy a 250-seater aircraft,” he said.

Cargo services are also expected to be increased on the new direct route. Mr Olawuyi said the cargo will cost $2 (about Shs7,350) per kg from the previous $18 (about Shs66,000).

Mr Olwuyi said the Airbus U900 will be leaving Entebbe on Sunday and Monday at 7pm and on Thursday, the Airbus will depart the airport at 4pm local time and reach at 6:30pm.

However, the return flight U901 will depart Lagos at exactly 11am on Sunday and Monday, arriving in Entebbe at 17.30pm. On Thursday, the airline will depart Lagos at 20.00pm for a same-day arrival in Entebbe at 2:30am.

Mr Ismail Alatise, the Nigeria High Commissioner, said the flight would offer direct services and solidify the bilateral relations.

“It will increase trade opportunities and one of the greatest exports of Uganda to Nigeria is kamulali (redpepper),” he said.

The launch comes barely a week after the national carrier launched a direct flight from Entebbe to Mumbai, India starting October 7.