In an interview, Mr. Adedayo Olawuyi, Chief Commercial Officer (COO) of Uganda Airlines, shared insights into the airline’s plans to commence direct flight services between Entebbe, Uganda, and Nigeria, the airline’s market strategies, and the role of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) in enhancing African aviation.
Mr. Olawuyi expressed his strong support for the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), believing it to be a significant development for the African aviation industry. He emphasized that SAATM would open up the African skies, boost intra-Africa travel, and help African airlines gain more prominence.
Uganda Airlines’ decision to operate direct flights to Nigeria was driven by Nigeria’s status as the most populous nation in Africa with a growing economy. The airline recognized the opportunity to serve the Nigerian market and strengthen trade, tourism, and other ties between the two countries.
Uganda Airlines plans to initiate three weekly flights between Entebbe and Lagos, operating on Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays. The airline will deploy the Airbus A330-800 aircraft on this route, which offers a mix of business class, premium, and economy class seating.
Uganda Airlines operates flights to 12 destinations from its hub in Entebbe, and passengers flying to Nigeria can use Entebbe as a transit point to access these destinations. The airline also has interline partnerships with carriers like Qatar Airways, providing passengers with seamless connections to other destinations.
Uganda Airlines aims to attract passengers by offering unique advantages such as direct flights to Entebbe, a USP in comparison to other carriers. The airline plans to provide excellent service on its new and modern aircraft, significantly reducing travel time between Entebbe and Lagos.
The Ugandan government’s intention in reviving Uganda Airlines in 2019 was to create an airline that could stimulate economic growth, trade, tourism, and other businesses in the country. The government has provided strong support, including purchasing six brand-new aircraft for the airline’s operations.
Uganda Airlines is exploring the acquisition of narrow-body aircraft to bridge the gap between its current Airbus and CRJ aircraft. This expansion aims to enhance the airline’s fleet and services.
The interview underscores Uganda Airlines’ strategic focus on expanding its services to West Africa, with Nigeria serving as a key destination. The airline aims to capitalize on Nigeria’s growing population and economy while contributing to the growth of African aviation through initiatives like SAATM.