Our fingers are burnt. Our fingers have already been burnt due to mismanagement. But from the determination of President Museveni, he must have a thing up his sleeves – intent to bring all risks associated with this business to manageable levels. And crack the whip on errant managers of the airlines.
Advertisement By Simon J. Mone
Uganda Airlines won’t fail again.” These were the words of President Museveni. Everyone else should be seen to share the same attitude. Wish the ‘new-born baby’ well. Ugandans should not allow a beautiful project “fly the cranes to the pearl of Africa” to run back to the doldrums.
From the moment the two glittering, brand new bolts-nuts-rivets, white-black-yellow-red CRJ-900 aircraft registered as 5X-KOB and 5X-EQU touched ground on runway, there was fanfare.
Mr Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni got on board the aircraft to experience the feel of what Ugandans had missed for 17 odd years.
The unveiling of the planes has a big say in our air transport system. It has attracted mixed reactions as to whether the new national flag carrier will last the extra miles.
We continue to get negativity such as who owns the Airline? Or have we learnt our lessons enough to be trusted with this millions of dollars investment? As it is always said, time will tell.
But we cannot start by wishing hell to our latest new arrival even when we know that in the airline industry, even the bravest and elite operators struggle to stay in the sky.
Just last week, Icelandic Budget Airline, WOW, collapsed. It is always the case with airlines. WOW collapsed because it ran into financial trouble.
According to sources, it became bankrupt and could not operate in and out of its Reykjavik hub and beyond April, 2019 anymore. We have to beat such misfortunes in order to keep Uganda Airlines in the clouds for a long time. One thing is for sure, continuous low-ticket operations bring down airlines. High operational costs are not manageable.
Our fingers have already been burnt due to mismanagement. But from the determination of President Museveni, he must have a thing up his sleeves – intent to bring all risks associated with this business to manageable levels.
And crack the whip on errant managers of the airlines. We want to hope that the unveiling event marked the beginning of long years of sustained Uganda Airlines. We wish Uganda Airlines the best and urge government to embrace the following enablers to hold our biggest thing in the sky.
To start with, tourism is one of Uganda’s revenue expectations annually. We can facilitate it more by adding domestic flights to the business. Domestic flights from Entebbe to Kidepo, Kasese, Pakuba and all other routes that have aerodrome facilities, will do a lot of good.
We also have to make sure that the road transport system from Entebbe to the countryside is efficient as the sure way to attract more arrivals. Uganda Airlines provides improved visibility of Uganda to the world. Right now, you can only envy Kenya Airways, which has been the dominant airlines between Entebbe and Nairobi. This makes Entebbe International Airport to look like it is operated by Kenya Airways. That is the power of visibility.
Now our own aircrafts should be visible. The other enabler is ground handling services. If airport ground handling services become part of Uganda Airlines, there is an additional source of earning.
The third enabler is by flying cargo from Entebbe to international destinations. The fourth enabler is to make Uganda Airlines the operator of Entebbe International Airport. In this way, it will benefit from landing and parking charges levied on operators at Entebbe International Airport.
The fifth is from tenants that occupy the airport terminal premises. Sixth, Uganda Airlines could benefit from hotel facilities in the vicinity of Entebbe International Airport. Build hotels to provide accommodation to passengers.
The seventh enabler is, respect regulations. Don’t breach rules. Regulations do not discriminate; they help operators to comply. The government must be the first to obey and all other operators will fall in line.
The start cannot be easy, but Uganda Airlines need some well thought-out enablers. We wish Uganda Airlines thousands of miles in the sky.
Mr Mone is a civil engineer.
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