BUJUMBURA HERE WE COME?!?
Usually well informed sources within Ugandas aviation fraternity have given the clearest indication yet that Air Uganda will widen their reach, true to their slogan We are the Wings that connect East Africa and offer flights, initially three times a week, between Entebbe and Bujumbura. From apparently the end of October will U7 operate a 09.00 a.m. departure every Monday and Wednesday from Entebbe to Bujumbura via Kigali, using their CRJ 200 aircraft, before returning nonstop to Entebbe. On Fridays the order will be reversed, when a 14.30 hrs departure will fly nonstop to Bujumbura, before later in the afternoon coming back via Kigali.
The same source also confirmed that come end November additional changes on the Air Uganda network will come into effect. First will be a truly daily flight between Entebbe and Dar es Salaam, where the present gap on Saturdays will be closed while from December onwards Juba will see a second flight come on line, initially on Fridays only, before upping frequencies on that route by February 2012 on two more traffic days, to be advised nearer to the time.
Considering the recent momentum in Eastern Africas aviation industry, where Kenya Airways, RwandAir and Precision Air have made all the positive headlines, it is now Air Ugandas turn to have aviation observers and analysts sit up and take notice.
Air Uganda is operating two CRJ 200 aircraft leased from GECAS and one MD87 as back up aircraft, which is however regularly deployed on the route to Juba where loadfactors remain high, necessitating the use of the much larger MD 87.
Owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, under the Aga Khan Development Network, the airline commenced operations towards the end of 2007. Initially troubled by management turbulences the airline finally found its footing when former Kenya Airways Commercial Director Hugh Fraser took the helm, replacing the hapless Italian management seconded to U7 by Meridiana at the time of startup, which was thought to have been largely responsible for the initial losses the airline incurred before the turnaround was accomplished by reverting to the initially outlined strategy of using smaller and more economical jets.
Additional news on Air Uganda will be released right here in coming days, so keep watching this space for the most current aviation news from Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean region.
Archive for September 29th, 2011
BUJUMBURA HERE WE COME?!?
AIR UGANDA UNDERGOES IOSA AUDIT
Information was received this morning that Ugandas quasi national airline Air Uganda is presently hosting an international audit team, which is in country to assess the state of preparations of U7 towards final certification under IATAs operational safety audits.
IOSA is arguably the gold standard for airlines as far as safety is concerned and international cooperation with other airlines, including code share arrangements, are now often made contingent of IOSA certification by the global aviation giants, before letting their passengers fly with third party airlines beyond their own hubs and destinations. This is a global development but particularly pertinent in Africa, where aviation has an unenviable safety record in countries like Congo Dr and the Republic of the Sudan, affecting the standing and reputation of aviation in general, justified or not.
Details ascertained from a regular source in Entebbe also confirmed that the audit team has been on site since Monday this week, and is due to finalise their reviews and interviews by Friday end of business. The result of the audit will then be communicated to IATAs relevant department which will in turn formally advise applicant Air Uganda of any measures required to be addressed and the time frames given, before a final audit will then establish when, rather than if IOSA certification can be granted to U7. This is expected to be achieved by sometime in 2012 according to other usually well informed sources close to the airline.
This development is a major step by Air Uganda to enter the big league, and while not by the size of their fleet at least by the level of quality matching that of already certified and re-certified other airlines flying in the East African region. Happy Landings!
SURVEYS FOR NEW SOUTH SUDAN CAPITAL IN RAMCIEL TO START SOON
Information was confirmed from Juba, South Sudans current capital city, that a proper land survey in and around Ramciel, Lakes State, would commence soon. Only recently has the South Sudan cabinet, or council of ministers as it is called, decided that the new capital city should be moved from Juba to Ramciel, where a purpose built political capital is to be established, leaving Juba arguably as the commercial capital of the new country. We have put a committee in place now to map out the way forward. There must be a full land survey to make sure that the area chosen is suitable. We have to build roads, a complete infrastructure, maybe even an airport, government buildings, a State House, hospitals, schools and so forth. It will be an administrative city, not an industrial city but there will be provisions for service businesses of course though maybe not manufacturing. This move is also to honour our late leader Dr. John Garang, who was committed to move the capital to Ramciel. It will be a challenge but we will make it happen. The committee is looking at financing options and they will brief President Kiir and parliament when they have completed their findings and recommendations. This will be a well planned new city in the heart of our new country said a regular source from Juba, also dismissing fears that investments in Juba may be rendered useless. Those with factories, hotels and other businesses in Juba need not fear. Of course their investments are safe. It is the political capital which is being separated from the commercial capital, and from the capital also of Central Equatoria state. It will have little influence of doing business in South Sudan and we expect to have government offices as liaison in Juba.
The process though is considered to be taking a considerable period of time, considering the cost of the exercise and the already strained budget of the new country, where job creation and a completely new infrastructure of roads, bridges and public services still is the number one priority of a government already quietly eyeing the next election cycle. Watch this space.
TCAA ADMITS WIDE RANGING CHALLENGES
The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority has earlier in the week acknowledged that operational constraints across the countrys airports, aerodromes and airfields are a major challenge to their mandate and objective to increase travel by air across the country.
In particular the availability of aviation fuels on such often remote locations, far from the main airports of Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro International / Arusha or Mwanza, made operations by airlines difficult, compelling them to bring the required fuel for the return or onward flight along instead of re-fuelling on location. The absence of infrastructure like runway lighting too was seen as a problem as many outlying aerodromes and airfields could only be accessed during daylight hours, restricting the use of aircraft capable of flying at night to the main airports but not the rest of the country. This, according to the TCAA Director General Mr. Fadhil Mangoni, was leaving much of the expensive infrastructure at other secondary airports unusable at night. Amongst suggestions made by TCAA was tax incentives for companies willing to store aviation fuels at such remote places and greater investments by government in aviation infrastructure to keep more airports and aerodromes open around the clock.
15TH INTERNATIONAL TRADE SHOW UPCOMING
The Uganda Manufacturers Association is next week opening its doors to the 15th edition of its international trade show with over 850 exhibitors from Uganda, the East African Community and firms beyond the region and from other continents participating in the event. Companies from China, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Egypt are amongst foreign exhibitors, a signal of how trade relations have in recent years changed from the traditional sellers in Europe to the East.
UMA has according to a press release also introduced innovations following complaints by visitors in recent years, introducing a VIP entrance gate, special guides to take visitor groups through the show ground and is finally providing a comprehensive insurance cover for exhibitors and visitors alike against all eventualities and liabilities.
The show this year is focusing to a greater extent on the exhibition of goods manufactured in Uganda, inspite of the rough economic climate made worse by regular power outages, a situation however which has plagued much of the East African region in recent months. The exhibition is expected to be opened by President Museveni and runs from 04th October until 09th October.
MOROTO BRIDGE TO REOPEN SOON
Torrential rains in Eastern Uganda in recent weeks have caused havoc conditions for road transport and when a key bridge between Moroto and Nakapiripirit was washed away, 6 districts were cut off from the rest of the country, including access to Kidepo Valley National Park. Information was now given by the Ministry of Works that a new bridge would be completed within the next two weeks, while work on at least 10 other bridges destroyed by flood waters was already in progress.
While most tourists visiting Kidepo fly to the park from either the Kajjansi airfield outside Kampala or from Entebbe, the roads nevertheless are of crucial importance for the wananchi but also of strategic importance as it links to the border triangle of Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan, where cross border cattle rustling continues to be of concern to the security forces in all three countries, often necessitating swift deployment by road. Emergency bridges have been put into place where practicable it is understood to allow safe crossing of rivers by trucks, busses and saloon cars, while repairs in the region are now ongoing after the rains have subsided.
EMIRATES TO CONNECT UGANDANS TO MORE DESTINATIONS
A regular source at the Emirates office in Kampala has confirmed that the airline will continue to introduce more destinations for travelers on their daily service from Entebbe. Dallas and Seattle will join the existing US cities of New York, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2012 it was revealed while in Europe and across the globe more cities will come online as deliveries of new aircraft permit. Amongst those new places is Copenhagen / Denmark, where Emirates now flies daily and other notable new destinations to be launched soon are, amongst others, Dublin, Geneva, St. Petersburg, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro. These brand new destinations will become available to travelers from Uganda and the wider Eastern African region between November this year and January next year, truly connecting Uganda to the world via Dubai.
There it was learned is a brand new terminal being built, to be exclusively used upon completion by the growing fleet of the giant Airbus A380, of which Emirates already operates the largest fleet of any airline in the world. In November another milestone will also be reached for Dubai when the airport is expected to overtake all other international airports but London Heathrow to become the second largest global international hub, of course spurred by Emirates growth. Watch this space as Dubais award winning airline continues its relentless march towards a truly global connectivity, reaching all major commercial centres on a daily or multi daily basis.