Gen Katumba Wamala wants Uganda Airlines to fly to more Indian cities

Works and transport Minister General Edward Katumba Wamala has said  there is an urgent need to have India review her Bilateral Air Service Agreements with Uganda to allow the national carrier to fly to other cities within India.

Gen Wamala made the call during the India-Uganda Trade and Business Forum in Mumbai where several business facilitation bodies spent the greater part of the day making a strong case to the Indian Business community to invest in Uganda.

“We are requesting our Foreign Ministry and Ugandan High Commissioner to India to work closely with the Indian government through its Civil Aviation Authority to review the Bilateral Service Agreements to allow Uganda Airlines to fly to other cities in India like New Delhi, Delhi, Pavnel, Ahmadabad and others where Ugandan come for medical care, education and trade but upon reaching Mumbai, have to now get domestic flights to those cities “Gen Katumba said.

To the minister, there is great hope that this route increases the fortunes of the Airlines through passenger and cargo operations.

 “Our plane carrying back five tons of cargo to Entebbe possess back a good challenge to Uganda. We have already demonstrated that we can produce enough agricultural products like pineapples, avocadoes, matooke and others, now the challenge is back to the Ugandan farmers to grow enough of these to fill up all the pallets.”

Day two of the Ugandan delegation in Mumbai saw the community in India and Uganda meet for the purpose of striking business deals.

According to the airline public relations officer Shakilah Rahim Lamar the forum was set to achieve specific objectives like getting to connect the Indian and Ugandan business community.

India has a 1.4 billion market that we are opening up Uganda to.

“As an airline, our focus will continue being the enabler and infrastructure along which the tourism, trade, and foreign direct investment will ride to Uganda. We shall over the next few days be launching our other direct route to Lagos in Nigeria and China Gwanzough by December 2023,” she noted.

For the last 26 years, India’s exports to Uganda have increased at an annual rate of 10.1%, peaking at $695million in 2021.

Uganda on the other hand only pulled $53.6million in 2021 and this signifies a huge trade imbalance between the two nations.

Parliament, through its physical infrastructure committee chairperson Dan Kimosho said it is  committed to supporting the airline to achieve its full potential.

“As parliament, we are now going to spice it up and become the Ambassador of the Airline where need be and take it upon ourselves to explain to our people the importance of the national carrier to the Country’s economy,” Kimosho said.

The National Planning Authority Executive Director, Dr. Joseph Muvawala who gave the key note address at the forum pitched Uganda as a number one destination of investment as the macro economic factors are favorable for Indian investors

“The Ugandan economy has been growing at an average of 6% for the last decade and we now have a target of increasing this to 10% and to do this, we need serious foreign direct investment, our labour market is the cheaper and affordable more than anywhere in the world,” Dr. Muvawala said.

Returning to the skies in August 2019 after nearly two decades, the airlines strategy is to keep all her fleet of the six aircraft including  four  CRJ 900 Bombardier and two A3330 800  Airbus in air through increasing on the route network

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