As Uganda holds onto plans of revamping its air carrier in the 2040 national development plan, Ethiopia says they are very willing to walk the journey with Uganda.
The country’s national airline says they are ready to partner with Uganda but Uganda has so far not been responsive.
The airline’s country representative in Uganda, Mr Abebe Angessa says as part of their partnership endeavour, they communicated to and shared their business partnership plan with six institutions in the government including the executive management of the Civil Aviation Authority in Uganda, the ministry of transport and the national planning authority who received.
However, Abebe says they are still waiting for a positive response.
“It has been over a year, about a year and a half in particular and we are still waiting for a favourable reply,” Abebe said.
Ethiopia is open minded that if partnership fails they have availed themselves to take consultative or advisory position.
These say that based on how complex the aviation industry is and geographical advantage, Ethiopia or Kenya would Uganda’s best aviation partner to a cost effective benefit for Uganda producing much better economic and profitable results.
Ethiopia adds that beyond geographical advantage, they also have a very good track record after they became an independent aviation sector with twelve years after an establishment partnership with the then American airline TWA.
“We took over all the activities from management, maintenance, flying and all commercial services which is a best practice case scenario which would be good for Uganda,” Abebe said
Players in the aviation industry say its a rule of thumb for the aviation industry to grow at double the rate of economic development.
Abebe says at both planning and operation levels the aviation figures should reflect and confirm this projection.
“For instance in Ethiopia economic growth is double digit, so suppose Ethiopia’s economic growth is at 10 per cent when you apply the rule of thumb, the aviation industry would grow at 20 percent which we observe be it in passenger or cargo carriers, which would also be a good bench mark for Uganda’s aviation industry.”
Uganda is being urged to quickly reinstate its national carrier because of the big opportunities that the country can fetch from air, transporting its own people and tourists.
Besides benefits from transportation, aviation also has a ripple effect on other sectors such as providing employment to the people.
“If tourists come, other industries must benefit for instance they must eat, agriculture will develop, banks will develop and it’s interrelated to many other benefits,” Mr Abebe said.
According to records, there are about 26 airstrips in Ethiopia of which nine are currently viable for operation with a small aircraft. Four of the airstrips with better configuration can be readied for even bigger aircrafts because they have already been identified and recognised by the International Civil Aviation Authority all that remains is financing and actualisation.
Ethiopia flies three flights between Entebbe and Addis daily; one at noon, evening and early morning at 3. They also serve four flights daily between Entebbe and Juba and chartered flights for organisations like the UN.