First Lady Janet Museveni (left) with President Yoweri K. Museveni inside one of the Bombadier CRJ900 planes.
His Excellency the President
Hon. Members of Parliament,
H.E the Canadian Ambassador to Uganda
The Vice President of Bombadier (Middle East and Africa),
The CEO of Uganda Airlines,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all to Entebbe International Airport on this historic and landmark day in Uganda’s aviation industry as we receive two new aircraft for the country’s national carrier.
It is the desire of every patriotic Ugandan to see a vibrant air transport industry in this country. As a landlocked country, Uganda is better off with a well-developed air transport system. Such a system would only be complete if it is served by a strong national airline that has the interests of Uganda built in its operations and Business Plan.
What we are witnessing today is the beginning of realization of that dream.
Your Excellency, I wish to thank you for the tireless efforts, support and commitment exhibited throughout this journey. I also congratulate all the stakeholders that have been involved from inception of the idea and are still part of this on-going process to ensure revival of the national airline. This is a move in the right direction, which will not only boost Uganda’s air transport industry, but also have a trickle-down effect on other key sectors of the country’s economy. Investment in a national airline can only be equated to investment in a country’s infrastructure as it facilitates and enables productivity in other sectors of the economy.
I also wish to reiterate Civil Aviation Authority’s commitment to ensuring that the airline is given all the necessary guidance and regulatory support to enable them conduct safe and secure operations in line with international standards and recommended practices. The Authority will gladly continue to render all possible assistance throughout the on-going certification process for an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) to ensure that the airline commences operations within the planned timelines.
The airline was granted an Air Service License (ASL) in 2018, their aircraft were duly inspected and issued with Certificates of Registration and Airworthiness, the crew’s licenses were also validated and endorsed in line with the Civil Aviation Personnel Licensing Regulations. We are now going through the mandatory certification process.
In line with CAA’s mandate to maintain the highest standards of safety, security and service in civil aviation, we shall diligently ensure that the national airline, just like other air transport operators, satisfactorily complies with the applicable Aviation Laws and Regulations and the international standards pertaining to the operation of aircraft as laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The decision by Government of Uganda to revive Uganda Airlines is commendable. More Ugandans will now be able to travel conveniently through direct flights at competitive prices, which will promote our peoples’ culture, tourism and business in the region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Permit me to report that Entebbe International Airport has recorded steady passenger traffic growth figures over the years with an average international growth rate of 7.5%.
There has been a rise in international passenger traffic from a paltry 118,000 international passengers in 1991 to 1.84 million international passengers in 2018 compared to 1.65 million passengers recorded in 2017, a 10.2% growth. Domestic passenger traffic also recorded a 41.9% growth from 18,824 passengers in 2017 to 26,711 domestic passengers in 2018, while commercial aircraft movements registered a 10.4% growth from 29,327 in 2017 to 32,386 in 2018. It is evident that added flights will immensely contribute towards this growth.
The Authority’s five year Strategic plan covering the period FY2018/19-2022/23 is targeting growth in air traffic levels by at least 15% and improvement in capacity for Entebbe International Airport to handle 3.5 million passengers by June 2023.
When the national airline commences operations, it will further contribute to the much needed rise in passenger traffic figures, which contributes to economic growth. The increased frequencies in and out of Entebbe will also subsequently enhance competition and lead to economies of scale and efficiency. There is also a high likelihood that transit passengers will increase and these spend money in foreign currency during the time they spend waiting at an airport, which brings in more foreign exchange.
The passenger traffic brought in from the region will also benefit other existing air operators who can pick it for onward transfer to other destinations. The airline will therefore play a role in complimenting other existing air operators. This is therefore a timely and much needed development considering the need for faster connections between Uganda, and the region.
CAA has not only promoted air transport through supporting efforts to revive the national carrier and attraction of other international air operators, but there has also been emphasis on upgrade of aeronautical infrastructure. Some of the on-going projects include construction of a modern 100,000 tones capacity Cargo Centre complex, expansion of the Aircraft Parking Apron, strengthening and rehabilitation of runway 12/30, work on the Taxiways and erection of a new Terminal building by 2021, among others. All these are part of a 200 million US Dollar project for upgrade and expansion of Entebbe International Airport by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).
There is also an on-going automation of systems at Entebbe International Airport as part of a US Dollars 9.5 Million grant from the Government of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). A Terminal Operations Control Centre and training facility have already been erected as part of this project, which will also deliver a Computerized Maintenance Management System and an Air Traffic Message Handling System, among others.
All these and other on-gong works are aimed at ensuring that air operators like Uganda Airlines enjoy a pleasant and memorable experience at Entebbe International Airport.
Once again, I congratulate Government, the management of the national airline and all the people of Uganda on this important milestone.
Thank you for listening.