Uganda Airlines is poised to make significant strides in its global connectivity as it readies to launch flights to Mumbai, India, and Lagos, Nigeria, starting from October 7th, 2023. The carrier’s CEO, Jenifer Bamuturaki, has confirmed these plans, signaling an exciting new chapter in the airline’s expansion strategy, as reported by Michael Wakabi of AirInsight.
In a dynamic end-of-year move, Uganda Airlines is set to embark on three new routes, all scheduled for launch in October. These much-anticipated routes include the long-awaited Lagos and Mumbai services, as well as Riyadh via Jeddah, marking a significant expansion for the carrier.
The launch of these three routes, coupled with their associated connections, will bolster Uganda Airlines’ route network to a total of 16 destinations. This expansion is particularly pivotal for unlocking new Southern African destinations, some of which were temporarily put on hold due to various factors. Discussions are already underway with Zambia and Zimbabwe for potential services to Lusaka and Harare.
CEO Jenifer Bamuturaki highlighted that the carrier has secured Foreign Operators Permits (FOPs) from regulatory authorities in India, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.
As reported by our media partners Newsaero, a technical team from Nigeria recently visited Uganda for final assessments of Entebbe International Airport and the overall readiness of Uganda Airlines to commence the Lagos and Mumbai services. The FOP for Nigeria covers rights to Lagos and Abuja, with a reciprocal understanding that Nigeria will enjoy similar rights to Entebbe once Nigeria Air, their forthcoming flag carrier, becomes operational.
— Uganda Airlines (@UG_Airlines) August 25, 2023
Uganda Airlines has chosen to operate its initial Lagos service using the Airbus A330-800s in its fleet. The Lagos route, which is planned to operate three times a week, will be launched simultaneously with the flights to Mumbai. This strategic pairing of the two destinations aims to maximize the potential for connecting traffic and passenger convenience.
The airline’s plans to initiate flights to Nigeria were initially set for July of the previous year, but regulatory complexities posed delays. However, these hurdles have now been cleared, and the airline is fully prepared for takeoff. The buzz around the Mumbai service has been building for the past two months, with all three new destinations already integrated into the reservations system, even though ticket sales have yet to commence.
As Uganda Airlines gears up for these new routes, it’s also worth noting that Guangzhou, China, which has been on the carrier’s radar for a while, is projected to be the final addition to its expanding network this year, with a potential launch date set for November.
Bamuturaki expressed confidence in the airline’s readiness, stating, “We have everything we need to start. We have our offices already up and running in the three markets but we pushed the launch out to October because we thought we would be somewhat swamped given the time between completing all regulatory certifications and the initial launch dates.”
As part of these preparations, Uganda Airlines is working closely with the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) to ensure compliance with international safety standards. The carrier’s Aircraft Operator Certificate (AOC) renewal process is underway, with completion expected in the coming weeks. Furthermore, Uganda Airlines and the UCAA are set to undergo the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Program audit in September, solidifying their commitment to operational excellence.