A Uganda Airlines aircraft. COURTESY PHOTO

Uganda Airlines is in the process of completing two interline passenger agreements with Emirates and Qatar Airlines.

According to the Uganda Airlines acting CEO, Ms Jenifer Bamuturaki Musiime, these agreements are necessary so that they can connect their passengers to onward flights.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, Ms Bamuturaki said this is necessary as the airline plans to launch direct international flights to cities in India, China, and Europe in 2022.

She also revealed that the company has entered deals with Air Tanzania and Precision Airlines, also of Tanzania to help Uganda Airlines increase it’s competitiveness, ticket sales and seamless travel for passengers within the region.

However, Ms Bamuturaki said the airline’s expansion plans for the first two years were affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. According to the business plan, the Airline was expected to operate 18 routes, both within and outside the African continent.

However, following the outbreak of Covid-19 and the ever-changing travel restrictions, the airline is operating eleven routes with only a few meeting the revenue targets.

Mr Samuel Mayanja, the acting Director Finance at Uganda Airlines, said in the last six months, the airline carried 98,760 passengers, translating into 64.5 percent of the revenue target. Some of the least performing routes are Mogadishu and Juba.

Mogadishu route made a loss of 780,000 US Dollars about shillings 2.7 billion while Juba made a loss of 900,000 US Dollars, about shillings 3.1 billion due to changes in the number of flights operated between July to December 2021.

Ms Bamuturaki said that the airline reduced the number of flights to some of the routes such as Mogadishu and Juba due to reduced bookings and yet the business plan indicates three to two daily flights. She added that even the lunch hour flight for Nairobi have never been operated due to low passenger demand.

As a result, she said the Airline is reconsidering it’s business plan and undertaking feasibility studies to cities on the planned international routes to assess whether or not the company can make profits during the pandemic.

Among the opportunities is acquiring mid-range aircrafts to operate Johannesburg flights to address baggage and cargo limitations on the 76-seater CRJ-900 planes.