Uganda received at Entebbe airport on Tuesday the first two planes, out of a total of four ordered by Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, for the relaunch of Uganda Airlines.
The two CRJ 900 aircraft, regional aircraft with a maximum capacity of 90 seats, were welcomed by President Yoweri Museveni and Minister of Public Works and Transport Monica Azuba Ntege, during a ceremony at Entebbe International Airport.
“We are very pleased that the work started months ago has begun to bear fruit,” said the minister, adding that the two other aircraft ordered from Bombardier will arrive in July and September respectively.
Two long-haul aircraft, ordered from the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, must be received in 2020 or 2021.
According to Uganda Airlines Executive Director Ephraim Bagenda, the flights of the publicly funded airline will not start until July, as the company’s certification process is not complete.
The required 90 days according to him to the certification “will include the demonstration to the civil aviation authority (Ugandan) that we have good facilities, trained personnel, what is needed for maintenance, equipment to do operate an airline “.
Haunting of the past
“We will start with the regional market, starting with Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zanzibar and South Africa before Europe, Asia and the Middle East, “he added.
But many observers and politicians fear that the airline will suffer the same fate as the national company that ceased operations nearly twenty years ago, undermined by corruption and risky management.
“We look forward to seeing what will come next because the problems that led to the fall of Uganda Airlines continue to persist today, corruption, mismanagement”, or political interference, estimated at the AFP the opposition MP Mubarak Munyanga, head of the parliamentary committee on state enterprises.
“We are praying that this time, the airline does not swallow the taxpayer’s money because of the government’s political maneuvers,” he added, while he has often been criticized in the past for some countries, especially African, to launch an airline in the name of national pride ignoring its economic viability.