What you need to know:
- The Entebbe-Mumbai direct route becomes the second international route that the Uganda Airlines takes on after Dubai.
With the national carrier, Uganda Airlines, set to make its maiden flight from Entebbe Airport to Mumbai in India on October 7after over 40 years, works minister Gen Edward Katumba Wamala is confident that this will lead to balanced trade between the two nations.
Prior to this scheduled flight, bilateral trade between Uganda and India appeared imbalanced with Kampala importing more.
“It has been more of us getting things from India than us taking things to India. I think this direct flight by Uganda Airlines will help us to kind of balance trade by exporting some more of our products to India,” Gen Katumba told the Uganda-India business forum.
He added: “The direct flight will also open market for some of these small and medium enterprises to be able to export their products to India.”
Mumbai, formally known as Bombay is the biggest commercial city centre for India and it is the 6th most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 23 million people.
“This route will create a highway between India and Uganda. The Indian community in Uganda must also be excited,” Gen Katumba observed at Friday’s forum.
He further revealed government plans to expand the Entebbe Airport to become a regional hub for easy connections.
According to government data, the airport recorded its highest ever passenger record of 191,000 travelers passing through the facility in August 2023.
Government expects the number to top 200, 000 with addition of the Indian community.
Speaking at the same forum, Uganda Airlines Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jennifer Bamuturaki expressed optimism ahead of the route’s latest debut.
“This route opens up Uganda to one of the world’s largest economies which positions us as a country to various opportunities. Our schedule will be three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Therefore, it will be dinner in Entebbe and breakfast in Mumbai. We can’t wait to welcome you aboard our maiden flight, UR 431,” Bamuturaki noted.
Elsie G Attafuah, the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) resident representative to Uganda, said experience has shown that no country has ever achieved rapid economic prosperity without trading with others.
The Entebbe-Mumbai direct route becomes the second international route that the Uganda Airlines takes on after Dubai.
It also becomes the 12th destination that the national carrier will be flying to with majority of the routes regional.
Uganda Airlines started operations in 2019.