The national carrier, Uganda Airlines made revenue worth Shs 40 billion in the first year of its return to the skies, the company’s chief executive officer, Cornwell Muleya has told MPs.
Muleya, told the physical infrastructure committee of Parliament that between August 2019 when the airline resumed its commercial flights and June 2020, it carried 77,355 passengers which is a 10 percent shortfall of its targeted 85,760 passengers.
This also meant that predicted income of Shs 31.5 billion was not attained, and instead, the airline generated Shs 25.2 billion.
However, the airline made an additional Shs 14.8 billion from 26,394 passengers at the end of December 2020.
The average passenger load factor for the initial period was at 35 percent but later increased to 47 percent as the industry struggled to cope with the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The passenger load factor is the measure of how much of an airline’s passenger carrying capacity has been utilized. A higher passenger load factor means that there are less empty seats on each aircraft.
“Before the effects of COVID-19 started in January 2020, there was a positive trend between passenger numbers, load factors, and passenger revenues. COVID-19 effects had started worsening the performance trends before Airspace closure came into effect,” Muleya said.
He, however, added that the company re-launched its commercial operations in October 2020.
He says that the Airline which initially operated four Bombardier CRJ 900 Aircrafts carrying 76 passengers each, had projected to have opened all 18 regional destinations by the end of December 2020, assuming flights start in August.
However having started operations in October, the airline only managed to operate in nine destinations including a new one to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The other destinations are Bujumbura, Burundi, Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya, Mogadishu in Somalia, Juba in South Sudan, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Arusha in Tanzania.
The Airline plans to start long haul routes to Guangzhou in China, London in the UK, Mumbai in India and Dubai in the United Arabs Emirates by March 2021.
But the airline has also accumulated some funding arrears of Shs 89.5 billion for foreign exchange variations of Shs 3 billion, capitalization funds shortfalls of Shs 900 million and Shs 85.63 billion funds for the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority incentives.
The airline has in recent weeks received two Airbus A330-800neo aircrafts with the capacity to carry 258 passengers each.
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