Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Uganda: Government Urged to Revive National Airline

Uganda Government has been urged to revive a national carrier if it is to fully harness the opportunities that the tourism sector provides.
This was said by Mr. David Mpango Kakuba, the Deputy Managing Director of Uganda's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) last week during a press briefing to announce the 2012 Routes Africa Airport Marketing Award for Excellence in Airport Marketing that Entebbe Airport scooped. Entebbe International Airport won the 2012 marketing accolade in recognition for attracting the highest number of new reputable airline operators in 2011 including Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, NasAir and Gulf Air.
He said that having a national carrier would enable the country get a hub and an avenue to advertise her tourism potential.
"You cannot expect carriers like Kenya Airways, Emirates to place documentaries about Uganda's tourism potential on their flights. Everybody will be marketing their own potential. So we shall whether Uganda starts humbly, but to get a national airline which will market the tourism," he said. He added, "We have impressed upon government to have a national airline. We have advised them that you cannot effectively market tourism unless you have a national airline. So we have put our case before cabinet and they are seriously thinking of establishing a national airline."
He said that much as Uganda has some of the best tourist attractions in the region, her major undoing was the lack of a national airline that would enable her to attract and retain tourists.
"You will find that the tourists who visit Nairobi and opt to visit the 'Mountains of the Moon' (Rwenzori), the documentaries given to them will read, 'Come to Nairobi, we shall take you 500 miles East to see the 'Mountains of the Moon'. When they come here, they are taken back immediately so that all the money is spent in (Nairobi).
"These are some of the things we are trying to do to ensure that we are independent and have the tourists to fly in directly into the country. But all this is long term and will depend on how government takes on the need to re-establish a national airline," he said.
He also disclosed that the air passenger traffic at Entebbe is steadily growing, currently at 1.2 million per year compared to three years ago when it was 500,000 passengers.
He however said that the there was increased international traffic while local air traffic was declining.

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