By Marvin Ocol
Uganda Airlines made about 7.6 Billion Shillings in the first three months of the year. The money was collected from ten chartered flights.
Six flights were paid for by mainly private clients to Mogadishu, Somalia while three were hired for the First Son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba and the late former Speaker Jacob Oulanyah.
Nine of the flights were operated by the airline’s CRJ900 aircraft while the one to Seattle was by one of the two Airbus A330-800 Neo aircraft.
Sources at the airline tell URN that State House and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, paid a total of about 964 million, for Gen Muhoozi’s three trips. Gen Muhoozi, who is the Commander of the Land Forces of the Uganda People’s Defence Force-UPDF flew twice to Kigali, Rwanda, and once to Cairo, Egypt.
Gen Muhoozi’s trips to Kigali were seen as part of Uganda’s efforts to mend its relations with Rwanda which had resulted in the closure of the Gatuna border for three years.
In February, Parliament paid the airline 500,000 US Dollars, about shillings 1.7 billion, to fly the late Oulanyah to the USA for medical treatment.
Bamuturaki says the airline is making money from among others operating chartered flights.
She however declined to reveal how many chartered flights have been operated since the airline’s revival in August 2019 citing competition. She however disclosed that the airline rented out one of its airbuses at about 420 Million Shillings to its manufacturer for exhibition at the Dubai Expo.
The airline has operated chartered flights for athletes. In 2020 President Yoweri Museveni paid about 81.4 million shillings, to fly Joshua Cheptegei, the 10,000-meter World Champion and, Halima Nakaayi, Steven Kisa, and Winnie Nanyondo to Nairobi. The athletes then connected to Monaco for the Diamond League in August.
Bamuturaki said the airline’s focus in 2022 will be on investment in customer retention systems such as launching a Frequent Flier Program and special offers such as extra baggage for free, seeking strategic partnerships, growing its cargo network, and network expansion.
In the financial year, 2021/2022 the airline was allocated 117.6 Billion Shillings out of the 195 billion requested. The budget shortfall means that the airline can only buy a spare engine for the four CRJ900 aircraft and start self-handling after July because it needs shillings 47 billion to among others buy equipment.
The government allocated 97.6 Billion Shillings for the airline’s operations, capitalization, and settlement of bills to Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and shillings 20 billion for wages of the over 390 staff.
The ministerial policy statement for the 2022/2023 financial year shows that the airline will receive less than 80 Billion Shillings.