MP advises govt to start small in revival of national airline

Uganda Airlines
A Boeing 707 Uganda Airlines plane. Courtesy Photo/CAA.

The Buikwe North Member of Parliament Paul Musoke Sebulime has called on Government not to start big as it seeks to revive Uganda Airlines.

Sebulime who was addressing a press conference today on the revival of Uganda’s national carrier and launching a book on Polishing the Aviation Industry, proposes that Uganda should consider starting with only four aircraft, for good performance and financial considerations since it’s viable.

Government set August 2017 for Uganda Airlines to fly after over 16 years of non-operation.

Reports indicate that Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier and France’s Airbus are to lease the aircraft. This publication has learnt that government will lease six aircraft, of which four will be for short-haul regional flights while two will be for long-haul flights.

Sebulime, a pilot who has clocked 2500 hours on freelance, says starting with six planes for Uganda is very ambitious and might not be the best for the country.

He also says Uganda should take a leaf from Rwanda who started selling their air tickets and transported passengers on Kenya Airways as they put the system in place, and they then graduated to leasing the first air craft, a Dash 8 from from Kenya and then acquired their own.

On the aircraft, he proposes Dash Q300 for 50 passengers, Dash Q400 of 78 passengers, and Boeing 737 700 or 800 carrying 189 passengers among others. He discourages government from going for Airbus which he says would require training Civil Aviation Authority inspectors and Airline personnel or importing personnel which is expensive.

Sebulime has also called for the adoption of Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) personnel in the operation of the national airline as the country moves to revive the Aviation Industry.

He noted that the UPDF pilots are well trained and well experienced in aviation and this is very instrumental for the revival of Uganda Airlines.

He says good airliners are dual manned by Civilian and Military personnel and this ensures efficiency and reduces costs. He says Ethiopian Airlines and Congo have half their personnel in the military background.