SELFHANDLING FOR AIR UGANDA
Beginning from January 2012 will Ugandas quasi national airline Air Uganda, otherwise known as U7, begin to handle their own flights, after a long battle with the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority, leaving near monopolist ENHAS short of what is thought to be revenues of just under a million US Dollars.
Air Uganda had for quite some time, under immediate past CEO Hugh Fraser, presented the CAA with data from in particular Nairobi, an airport the UCAA is intent to copy in terms of traffic, showing considerably lower handling tariffs, at times costing only half of what the airline was being charged for a similar set of services in Entebbe.
The savings will help U7 to progressively offset the initial losses incurred at start up four years ago, while at the same time offering additional employment opportunities to Ugandans who are now being trained to provide ground handling services and meet the expected standards.
Air Uganda presently operates a fleet of two leased CRJ 200 jets and of an additional MD 87, and had a few weeks ago announced an expansion in services to Bujumbura, daily flights to Dar es Salaam and the start of moving towards double daily services between Entebbe and Juba / South Sudan. Their present third daily mid day flight to Nairobi, currently only operating on a few days, is also due to be progressively increased until the airline flies 21 times a week between Uganda and Kenya. Happy Landings and Happy Handlings.
Archive for December 11th, 2011
Uganda aviation news – ENHAS loses out as CAA approves self handling for Air Uganda come January 2012
SELFHANDLING FOR AIR UGANDA
TCAA ENDS SWISSPORT MONOPOLY
After years of arguments and heated exchanges between airlines and the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority has a decision finally come down to end the unsustainable monopoly at the countrys key airport Dar es Salaam, to license another handling company.
Swissport already had lost Tanzanias largest airline company, Precision Air, which after a prolonged struggle was during a previous licensing hearing granted self handling status, after repeatedly accusing Swissport of being overpriced in comparison with regional handling standards in particular in Nairobi, where about a dozen handling agencies offer a wide range of pricing and service options.
New kid on the block, Aviation Handling Services, is now embarking on a major sales drive to persuade airlines switch their business to them, offering lower tariffs and arguably better services, with Swissport bracing themselves for considerably lower revenues in 2012, now that competition has finally dawned on them. Well done for a change to the TCAA licensing committee, which at the same time also approved other handling agencies for airports like Zanzibar, Mbeya and Mtwara, amongst others. Watch this space for the most current news from the aviation scenes across East Africa and to the Indian Ocean islands.
UNCERTAIN FUTURE PREVENTS INVESTMENTS, SLOWS TOURISM DEVELOPMENTS
War talk between the newly independent South Sudan and the former slave masters in Khartoum is leaving its marks on expected investments and in particular tourism developments, as uncertainty now overshadows the future of Africas latest independent nation.
Ethnic cleansing in the disputed regions of Abyei, Blue Nile and South Kordofan by the regime in Khartoum as well as aerial bombardments by the Sudanese air force on Southern territory have raised the stakes, and the economic blockades, including threats to block the vitally important oil exports, for which the South continues to rely on the pipeline to Port Sudan, have added to the tensions which have been building up over months now. Khartoum sponsored militia attacks, fighting deniable proxy action for their masters in the North, have also created added flash points inside South Sudan, and inspite of referring the North to the UN Security Council this has not yet yielded any results. The entry of ground forces from the North though has propelled the simmering disagreements and conflict to a new level and calls by the government in Juba have been emerging for international assistance, as the South is desperately trying to avoid being sucked into a new war with Khartoum, instigated by an increasingly desperate Bashir who is faced with internal revolts and opposition from within his own ranks and file, over having let go of the South in the first place. Seeking external adventures in the face of internal domestic difficulties is an age old recipe to divert attention and stay in power, though no one knows for how long he can play this game, should indeed a coalition be formed to assist the South defend their territory from aggression.
Hopes were high before independence that tourism could develop faster and create investments and jobs but the constant talk of renewed conflict has kept major East African players out of the equation so far, shy over the situation with the North but equally reluctant to commit funds into an environment which is neither regulated nor legally sound at this stage.
While a tourism policy document had been developed some years ago, this has not been submitted to the Southern parliament as yet and no time frame has been given, nor have the long promised tourism regulations and legislation been developed, leaving the sector in legal limbo.
While a constant stream of business visitors is coming to Juba through the scheduled flights from Nairobi and Entebbe, proper tourists are still notably absent and tour operators from Kenya and Uganda in particular continue to be cautious over sending visitors to the parks in South Sudan in the absence of camps and lodges where they can be accommodated. Potential galore and yet, as often witnessed, little being made out of it by the look of things. Watch this space.
MINISTER DENIES KILIMANJARO ICE CAP DISAPPEARANCE
Environmental experts and climate change researchers acquainted with the impact of the phenomenon have for some time now predicted, that the ice caps of East Africas mountains, on the Rwenzoris, Mt. Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro, would by 2025 have largely disappeared, then only collecting fresh snowfall insufficient to reverse the visible trends.
Over the last century the world famous ice cap on Mt. Kilimanjaro, immortalized by Hemingways novel The Snows of Kilimanjaro, have shrunk from over 12 square kilometres, reaching way down from the summit, to now just over 2 square kilometres, with the highest shrinkage observed over the past 3 decades, when the disappearance has become visible for all to see.
Alarms raised were for long ignored but when the icefields on Mt. Kenya equally shrunk to a small fraction of their former self, and the glaciers on the peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains too receded dramatically, notice was finally taken. The impact of less ice translates in less water emerging from the mountain and with the surrounding ecosystems, along the Albertine Graben in Uganda, the central highlands in Kenya and the area around Kilimanjaro all depending on sufficient water for irrigation of farms, domestic and industrial use, the outlook is critically uncertain now exactly how massive the impact of the shrunken ice caps will eventually be. In Kenya the situation in fact is even more critical, as much of the coasts water supply originates from the Mzima Springs in Tsavo West, from where a pipeline brings fresh water to the coast, a lifeline in the truest sense there.
Eyebrows were therefore raised last week when controversial tourism minister Ezekiel Maige once again put his foot into it when proclaiming in Arusha that the ice caps on Kilimanjaro would be there for much beyond the projected time frame, clearly thinking that his political utterances would stem and supersede natural developments. Said a regular source, well read and respected in the discussions on climate change in the wider East African region: Right now, the mountain often appears bare of snow the way we were used to seeing it. Then, after some days in the clouds and rain, snow is visible again, but no longer to the level it used to come down the slopes say 20 years ago. And the snow then melts more quickly, leading to the type of bare mountain sides now shown on recent pictures and films taken with the rocks all there is. It is the same situation on Mt. Kenya, where of the big glaciers there is now just a very small part left and it is just as bad on the Rwenzori peaks. So it is laughable when a minister tries to halt the trend by decree, it cannot be wished away any longer and it is best to prepare now for the consequences of this inevitable change than misleading the people and leaving them to face the fallout of climate change suddenly and without adequate preparation. But that is what the current breed of politicians does best, belittle the inevitable and tell people to hope beyond hope. In fact many of their development projects they are peddling as progress is going to make things worse with environmental degradation, and the logging projects they have for the Eastern Arc Mountains, where they withdrew the UNESCO application for recognition as a World Heritage Site speaks volumes of what is coming our way if they have their way. Climate change is now a reality and the failure of the talks in Durban is telling the world to be ready for the worst now.
As always, watch this space to get regular information on the wider East African region, its tourism and wildlife conservation issues and the most significant gaffes of politicians when speaking out on such issues
KIKWETE COMMISSIONS NEW NATIONAL TOURISM COLLEGE
The tape was finally cut at the new National College for Tourism yesterday by none other than Tanzanias President Jakaya Kikwete, who officially declared the new facility open a day after celebrating Tanganyikas 50th anniversary and Golden Jubilee of Independence from Britain.
The college, built with substantial assistance by the French Government, cost in the end nearly 8 million Euros, with the Tanzanian government meeting part of the expense through material and other contributions worth nearly 2 million Euros.
The college, dedicated for tourism and hospitality education on certificate, diploma and degree level, complements the long existing Mweka Wildlife College outside Moshi, finally offering comprehensive tertiary and vocational education opportunities for all those wishing to make a career in the tourism and wildlife sectors, which are hugely important to the Tanzanian economy.
Over 300 students are already enrolled in the new college but over 1.000 more are expected to be on campus soon when the next and following academic years start and intake levels have reached the projected capacity.
The new college is after the Kenya Utalii College the second major public tourism training facility in East Africa, now leaving Uganda trail in their wake and probably regretting, why the erstwhile offer of support for the Jinja based Hotel and Tourism Training Institute was not taken up in 2003/4, when France initially offered to build the new college in Uganda, but then walked away for an apparent lack of interest and the existing institute not being given the required land by government, leaving HTTIs management and board hugely disappointed. Here, ones folly ended up to be anothers success and the opening of the new National College of Tourism in Dar es Salaam is reason to celebrate there with best wishes from this correspondent, in both his writing as well as in his past academic capacity as former chairman of HTTI in Jinja.