What you need to know:
- It is an initiative to create a single unified air transport market in Africa to advance the liberalisation of civil aviation in the continent which will, among others, create a conducive environment for the development of intra-African and international air services.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) is seeking to sign a new policy that will among others, stimulate the development of air transport in Uganda and the countinent by joining the Single African Air Transport Movement (SAATM).
SAATM, according to their website is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063.
It is an initiative to create a single unified air transport market in Africa to advance the liberalisation of civil aviation in the continent which will, among others, create a conducive environment for the development of intra-African and international air services.
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This involves developing and providing safe, reliable, affordable air transport services necessary for the free movement of persons, goods and services in and outside Africa .
Ms Olive Birungi Lumonya, UCAA deputy director general, yesterday said if SAATM is signed, it will reduce the cost of air transport.
“Flying is more efficient, faster, and quicker but it is not being utilised as much as possible because of the high cost of travel, so if this agreement is signed by Uganda, she will be joining the rest of the countries. More than 30 countries have already signed this agreement and it is intended to increase traffic and reduce the cost of travel,” Ms Birungi said during a stakeholders’ meeting in Kampala. The meeting discussed the draft National Civil Aviation Policy in Kampala.
Ms Birungi added that the draft policy is being proposed by the African Civil Aviation Commission to encourage states to embrace the one single transport movement.
She explained the new arrangement, if adopted will reduce costs of air travel within the continent.
Ms Birungi also noted that UCAA recorded a sharp drop in revenues following the outbreak of Covid-19 in March 2020.
Without revealing how much was lost, Ms Birungi said the pandemic affected the authority, due to global travel restrictions.
She added that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has also affected the recovery of the sector.
“These eventualities when they happen, often cause losses in the aviation industry. Uganda lost revenue because of this, but we are now on a recovery path, and as of March this year, we have recovered up to 89 percent of the traffic that we had in 2019,” she said.
In 2019, Entebbe International Airport recorded 1,802,107 international travellers, both incoming and outgoing. Due to Covid-19, the airport handled 545,000 travellers in 2020, 940,000 passengers in 2021 before hitting nearly 1.6 million passengers last year as countries relaxed measures.
The State Minister for Transport, Mr Fred Byamukama, yesterday said there is a need to cut fares for domestic and regional flights.
“For example, from Kampala to Kisoro is very expensive by air to the extent that someone using their personal car can save some money. We have worked on many technicalities to make travel simple, when this happens, the economy will grow,” he said.
Adopted from: The Daily Monitor April 27, 2023