President Museveni has said the revived Uganda Airlines cannot be allowed to collapse like it was for the first one.
The Uganda Airlines which was the flag carrier for Uganda was established in 1976 before starting operations in 1977 but later collapsed in 2001.
Speaking at the function to receive the first two Bombadier CRJ900 jets which are part of the process to revive the national carrier at Entebbe airport on Tuesday, Museveni said despite mistakes made in the past that led to the collapse, the new airline will never collapse.
“While mingling millet, you must wait for the right temperature of the water to put the flour. You don’t do it too early and neither do you do it late,”Museveni said.
Equating the airline to a person, Museveni said as a person dies, the old national carrier collapsed and could not keep its “body” for all that long without burying it.
The president said having buried the body of the collapsed airline, they are now welcoming a new baby.
“I was among those who buried the old airline and I am among the midwives delivering the new baby. This new baby will never die.”
To support his notion, Museveni said Ugandans in the diaspora, businessmen and tourists will be among the key passengers of the revived Uganda Airlines.
Museveni said there are many Ugandans in the diaspora who always want to return to the country but use airlines from other countries.
“During Amin’s time, many Ugandans run away and are now well established wherever they are. Many others are in diaspora but now they can return home using the national carrier,”Museveni said.
He noted that there are many Ugandans in Canada, North America, UK and other European countries whom he said now have a chance to contribute to the development of the country through using the national airline.
The president said many Ugandans fly out of the country to do business but expressed concern that they use other countries’ airlines.
“They can now use the national carrier to fly to Dubai, Nairobi and China for business.”
Museveni said that tourists coming to Uganda too have got an advantage of flying directly to the country using the national carrier.
“The number of tourists coming to Uganda has been increasing over time despite several stopovers in Dubai, Adis Ababa, Nairobi and Kigali. Then what will happen if they can fly directly to Uganda?”
He noted that the country will reduce on its expenditure on foreign exchange.
Museveni also applauded parliament for passing the Shs280 billion which was meant for buying the two Bombardier planes.
Capt. Gad Gasatura, the chairman board of directors for Uganda Airlines said they have learnt lessons from several collapsed airlines but noted they cannot repeat the same mistakes.
“We are aware of the cut throat competition and we are aware that in an economy where Greenland and Teefe banks failed, other banks like Stanbic have flourished,”Gasatura noted.
“We are not intimidated about the failures of other airlines because we are here to stay.”
The revival of the Uganda Airlines was kick started with a feasibility study by the National Planning Authority over three years ago and this reviewed the successes and failures of airlines globally with a bias on Africa and putting in consideration the failure of the previous national carrier.
The report claimed that government loses $540m annually to passengers coming and leaving Entebbe airport using other carriers and thus recommended that with the revival of the airline, Uganda would generate revenue of the same figure in a 15-year period off operational and investment costs.
The National Planning report also recommended the CRJ 900 and Airbus A300-200 series as the most appropriate aircraft types for regional and international operations.
Two more CRJ900 Bombadiers will be delivered to the country in July and September respectively whereas the national carrier will launch its services in June.