President Museveni has said the government is working towards reviving a national airline, which ceased operation in 2001.
While addressing the first Cabinet sitting on Thursday at State House Entebbe, President Museveni directed the Ministry of Works and Transport to finalise negotiations with investor who can help Uganda revive its national airline.
He said the airlines to be restored in the next five years will save Ugandans from unreasonable airfares.
“A ticket to Nairobi costs between US$ 1100-1200 (business class) and US$ 500-700 (economy class) depending on the time of booking while a ticket to London costs between US$ 2700-3000 (business class) and US$1000-1300 (economy class). This is a big shame,” he told the ministers.
Established in May 1976, Uganda Airlines ceased operations in May 2001 following an unsuccessful attempt by the government to privatize the company, a thing that was followed by its liquidation.
“I did not care much about a National Airline. I thought that our brothers in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, etc. having Airlines would serve all of us. That, however, is apparently not the case.”
Museveni said a National Airline would help us to save US$420 million per year Ugandans spend on travel.
The National Airline will also create jobs and career opportunities for our children who train as pilots at Soroti Flying School.
“These children apparently suffer when they try to get jobs. Apart from joining the Uganda Airforce, opportunities for them are very limited. The Airlines of our brothers and sisters that benefit from Ugandan market should have remembered to treat our children as their own because our purchasing power is supporting those airlines.”
He also called for the conclusion of negotiations surrounding the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project so that construction starts.
He said negotiations for the Standard Gauge Railway must be concluded so that the construction starts.
“Here, I may not put a deadline because we are working with the Chinese. With our oil money, I will not tolerate any delays of any type because, then, we shall be able to fund everything ourselves if necessary.”
He said these two measures, lowering the cost of electricity and the cost of transport, will have decisive strategic implications for the forward movement of the economy.
“It will be much easier to attract and retain investments as already pointed out above.”