, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 1 – Ugandan-based airline Air Uganda has said it is finalising negotiations that will give it the go-ahead to introduce five new routes from Entebbe to destinations across East Africa before the end of this year.
Air Uganda Chief Executive Officer Hugh Fraser said on Monday that one of those routes would be to a Kenyan one as they seek to take advantage of the demand that exists locally.
“At the moment the routes are a bit confidential because not all of them have got their bilateral air service approvals done but most of them are actually to other major cities across East and Central Africa,” he said.
He added that this would be made possible with the arrival of their new fleet of aircrafts, Bombardier CRJ-200 jets. The airline took delivery of a Bombardier CRJ-200 jet on Saturday which is expected to boost its current fleet and also mark the beginning of its plans to replace the MD87s that are currently in use.
“The addition of the new aircraft shows our firm’s commitment to play a pivotal role in the air transport industry in East Africa,” he said.
Currently, the airline flies to Juba, Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Zanzibar and Entebbe.
He was quick to add that the move to launch more flights was not informed by the desire to compete with Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways but rather to complement KQ’s services.
“Should they have any overflow passengers in the morning flight, we would be happy to take them,” he said adding that the two carriers have a re-protection agreement between them.
The CEO also hinted that they might venture into the West African region in the near future.
“We are always receptive to the approaches that we receive from other countries. Right now there are two other countries in West Africa which we are now talking with and we will wait and see,” he said without divulging further information.
He spoke to Capital Business after announcing the re-introduction of its morning flight from Nairobi to Entebbe which resumed on Monday.
Mr Fraser expressed the airline’s commitment to offer competitive rates and flexible and convenient times particularly at the time when there is a down turn in passenger travel due to the on going global financial crisis.
Air Uganda started its operations in 2006 and it’s the only airline that flies the Ugandan flag after the collapse of the Uganda Airlines in 2001.East African Airways and Victoria International Airline which were launched also collapsed after a few months of operation.