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Uganda: Museveni Threatens Action As Uganda Airlines Delays Direct Flights to UK

President Museveni has said he is going to take action against Uganda Airlines officials for delay of the national carrier to make direct flights to the UK.

Museveni who was meeting with the UK Trade envoy for Uganda and Rwanda, Lord Popat together with the British High Commissioner to Uganda, Kate Airey, said he would push Civil Aviation Authority and the Uganda Airlines to have paper work done soon to ensure direct flights begin but insisted the officials are lazy.

"During Amin's time, we found the public service broken down. These people are totally parasites. They are just waiting for salary. What has helped Uganda to recover has been the army and private sector, in spite of the obstacles caused by public service. They have helped the economy recover," he said.

"The airline people are well paid. Why can't they finish the issue of direct flights? They are the enemy of the country."

The president's fury stemmed from concerns from the UK trade envoy who asked about the flights by Uganda Airlines to UK.

Lord Popat asked the Ugandan government to work on the issue of starting direct flights to UK by Uganda Airlines to promote tourism and investments.

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"If Uganda is willing, we are ready to send our aviation people here to help CAA so that we can have direct flights to the UK".

Flights to UK

A year ago, Uganda Airlines got rights to commence flights to Heathrow Airport in London, UK.

According to James Pearson, an aviation development chief analyst, the national carrier obtained slots at the Heathrow Airport.

"Although not yet available for booking, it would operate five weekly flights using Airbus A330- 800s arriving at 6:45m and departing at 9am," Pearson said last year.

Explaining the rationale for granting Uganda Airlines rights to Heathrow, the aviation development chief analyst said over 84000 passengers flew on the Entebbe to London flight on a two-way point-to-point basis in 2019, making Entebbe the second-largest unserved market from Africa to London behind Harare airport in Zimbabwe.

However, a year later, the flights have never begun.

The Uganda Airlines acting Chief Executive Officer, Jenifer Bamuturaki recently explained that the launch of the direct flights to UK had been postponed to June, 2022 .

She explained Uganda had been notified by the UK aviation body that the airline would be required to apply for a foreign carrier permit as one of the changes caused by the Brexit regulation.

Beginning, December 31, 2020, all non-UK air carriers that wish to undertake commercial services to, from or within the United Kingdom are required to hold a Foreign Carrier Permit before that flight is undertaken.

According to the acting Uganda Airlines CEO, this process is expected to take six months.

Uganda Airlines seeks to dominate the international space with several long-haul routes including Dubai, London and Guangzhou where the national carrier will be using its two Airbus A330-800 aircraft.

Artmotion S.Africa

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