Uganda Airlines Revels In Continental Aviation Revival after S. Africa Passenger Milestone

Uganda Airlines today carries the biggest number of passengers on a single flight since the company was established.

According to the flight records, by Wednesday, flight UR 711 Johannesburg-Entebbe had 240 out of the 258 seats already booked, the highest number of booking on a UR flight ever.

This also beats the record that had been made by last week’s flight which had 205 passengers. According to the Uganda Airlines office in South Africa, 90 percent of the travelers were Ugandans.     

The Entebbe-Johannesburg route was launched in May last year and is operated by the 76-seater CRJ 900 Bombardier, on a three-flights a week schedule, and the 258 passenger Airbus A330-800 once on Fridays.

The Entebbe-Johannesburg route has two airlines operating direct flights, the other one being South African-owned Airlink. Over the one-and-a-half years of the route, there has been an upward trend in passenger numbers.

For example, there was a growth of 18.93 percent in the numbers recorded in October 2022 up from the same month last year, while between November 2021 and November 2022, the passenger numbers grew by 14 percent.

For the month of December, the company expects even a bigger growth with the 2021 figure already surpassed by 35 percent, hallway through the month.

“This route only started operations on 30 May 2021 in the midst of COVID-19 lockdown. It was during a difficult period for South Africa as over 100 airlines had ceased operations to SA due to COVID-19. That’s the period that the Uganda Government put a vote of confidence on this route and commenced operations,” says Monica Rubombora, the company’s Resident Representative in South Africa.

Other Uganda Airlines destinations are Bujumbura, Dar-es-Salaam, Juba, Kilimanjaro, Kinshasa, Mogadishu, Nairobi and Zanzibar, as well as Dubai.

The airlines is confident that this trend makes it a beneficiary of the improving Africa aviation business which is slowly recovering from the losses of 2020. 

In that year, the total losses for the continent’s aviation business was 13 billion dollars, while 2023 is expected to return a loss of 213 million according to the International Air Transport Association, IATA, six times better performance.

The United National Conference of Trade and Development, UNCTAD, forecasts that that travel to Africa would return to pre-pandemic levels between 2023 and 2024.  

This growth could be achieved faster is the countries step up efforts at reviving the tourism sector.

For travel between Africa and the Middle East and between Africa and North America, the air travel figures had by May 2022 slightly exceeded the 2019 levels, according to IATA, while connectivity with Europe was at 96 percent.

On October 4th, 2021, Uganda Airlines made its maiden flight to Dubai on the Airbus A330neo and has since operated weekly flights.

According to the World Tourism Organisation, international tourist arrivals in Africa have already more than doubled the 2021 figures with the first half of the year recording a 171 percent jump from the same period of last year.

By the end of this year, international tourist arrivals in the continent are expected to be more than 60 percent of the 2019 levels, currently being 30 million as per end of November.

The 54th Africa Airlines Association Annual General Assembly in Senegal elected Uganda Airlines as the next host of the assembly next year.  

Uganda Airlines today carries the biggest number of passengers on a single flight since the company was established.

According to the flight records, by Wednesday, flight UR 711 Johannesburg-Entebbe had 240 out of the 258 seats already booked, the highest number of booking on a UR flight ever.

This also beats the record that had been made by last week’s flight which had 205 passengers. According to the Uganda Airlines office in South Africa, 90 percent of the travelers were Ugandans.     

The Entebbe-Johannesburg route was launched in May last year and is operated by the 76-seater CRJ 900 Bombardier, on a three-flights a week schedule, and the 258 passenger Airbus A330-800 once on Fridays.

The Entebbe-Johannesburg route has two airlines operating direct flights, the other one being South African-owned Airlink. Over the one-and-a-half years of the route, there has been an upward trend in passenger numbers.

For example, there was a growth of 18.93 percent in the numbers recorded in October 2022 up from the same month last year, while between November 2021 and November 2022, the passenger numbers grew by 14 percent.

For the month of December, the company expects even a bigger growth with the 2021 figure already surpassed by 35 percent, hallway through the month.

“This route only started operations on 30 May 2021 in the midst of COVID-19 lockdown. It was during a difficult period for South Africa as over 100 airlines had ceased operations to SA due to COVID-19. That’s the period that the Uganda Government put a vote of confidence on this route and commenced operations,” says Monica Rubombora, the company’s Resident Representative in South Africa.

Other Uganda Airlines destinations are Bujumbura, Dar-es-Salaam, Juba, Kilimanjaro, Kinshasa, Mogadishu, Nairobi and Zanzibar, as well as Dubai.

The airlines is confident that this trend makes it a beneficiary of the improving Africa aviation business which is slowly recovering from the losses of 2020. 

In that year, the total losses for the continent’s aviation business was 13 billion dollars, while 2023 is expected to return a loss of 213 million according to the International Air Transport Association, IATA, six times better performance.

The United National Conference of Trade and Development, UNCTAD, forecasts that that travel to Africa would return to pre-pandemic levels between 2023 and 2024.  

This growth could be achieved faster is the countries step up efforts at reviving the tourism sector.

For travel between Africa and the Middle East and between Africa and North America, the air travel figures had by May 2022 slightly exceeded the 2019 levels, according to IATA, while connectivity with Europe was at 96 percent.

On October 4th, 2021, Uganda Airlines made its maiden flight to Dubai on the Airbus A330neo and has since operated weekly flights.

According to the World Tourism Organisation, international tourist arrivals in Africa have already more than doubled the 2021 figures with the first half of the year recording a 171 percent jump from the same period of last year.

By the end of this year, international tourist arrivals in the continent are expected to be more than 60 percent of the 2019 levels, currently being 30 million as per end of November.

The 54th Africa Airlines Association Annual General Assembly in Senegal elected Uganda Airlines as the next host of the assembly next year.  

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