Uganda Airlines has commenced direct connectivity to Lagos from Entebbe International Airport with three weekly flights to Lagos, thereby deepening competition on international route.

Flights from Nigeria to other African countries have continued to take several hours as a result of poor connectivity.

When the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) was launched in January 2018, it was enthusiastically embraced as the key that would unlock air travel in Africa.

Although 33 countries in the continent are signatories to the project, many countries in Africa have not open their airspace for a single air market in the continent.

Uganda airlines is however changing this narrative with direct flight from Africa’s most populated country.

Abuja and Kano, have been approved as entry points for the airline by the federal government under the Bilateral Air Services Agreement, BASA, between both nations in line with the Single Africa Air Transport Market, SAATM.

The launch of flight services to Lagos by Uganda’s flag carrier, Uganda Airlines would help to close the gap in the travel needs of travelers from West Africa and East Africa.

The flights will be taking place on Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays and the flight will take under 5 hours. A return ticket for Economy class will be US$ 510 Economy and Business class at $1800.

Speaking shortly after the inaugural flight, Nelson Ocherger, Uganda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, stated that the approval by the Nigerian government would open a landscape of business opportunities to both nations. He noted that Ugandans await when Nigerian carriers would commence services to the country.

According to him: “The importance of air transport underscores the promotion of trade and investment and it allows Africa to leverage on all African Union, AU, agenda. We thank the Nigerian government for the necessary approval to do this operation.” “Uganda through the Uganda Civil Aviation Academy has partnered with the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria to train Ugandan pilots, engineers, and other aviation professionals.”

Yusuf Tuggar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador who Director of Airport Protocol represented in the Ministry, Ambassador Oludare Folowosele said Ugandan Airline’s operation was an opportunity to bridge West Africa and East Africa air transport hiccups, lamenting air connectivity as a major challenge in Africa wondering why Africans would travel to Europe first before connecting another African city while wasting over 12 hours on a trip that is normally three or four hours.

He said, “It is ridiculous to go to Europe before connecting two African neighboring countries. What we are doing today would lead to wealth creation, shortening travel time from one country to another rather than depend on Europe all the time for flight connections.”

Festus Keyamo, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, who was represented by Hassan Ejibunu, Director of Air Transport Management in the Ministry, stated that aviation remains the best way for Africa to connect her people and promote inter-Africa business in line with Africa’s 2063 Agenda, as championed by the continent’s leaders.

“Aviation has a huge market that should be explored by indigenous African Airlines, as no other Nations can develop the aviation sector for us, except us Africans. We need to do this in the interest of our over 1.37 billion people, which is 17.4 per cent of the world’s population. I wish to, therefore, challenge Nigeria’s local airlines to seize the opportunity to start operating regional and continental flights to make SAATM and YD achieve their aims, as envisioned by African leaders.”

Source: Business Day

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