The Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda National Airlines Company, Jenifer Bamuturaki has said that the national flag carrier needs at least three more years to break even.
According to reports by the Auditor General, Uganda Airlines’ financial performance was poor for the last three consecutive financial years. They posted huge losses; 104 billion Shillings in FY 2020/21, 164 billion in FY 2021/22, and 234 billion 2022//23 – all totaling 502 billion Shillings.
The Auditor General’s reports which were submitted to Parliament prompted further scrutiny of the operations of the Airlines by the Public Accounts Committee on Commission, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises – COSASE to help shape the entity’s strategic plan.
In an interview with URN, Bamuturaki explains that while the audit reports portrayed the airline negatively, the losses the entity recorded during the period under review were justifiable, citing inevitable variables and administrative costs.
To curb losses, Bamuturaki says the company has invested in managing the cost of fuel and oil, maintenance, rentals, and crew through personnel training, process automation, airplane seat configuration, and extension of routes among others to enable the entity to move towards break-even.
Bamuturaki revealed that her administration has set a timeline of at least three years from now to be able to break even as the airline currently generates up to 85 percent revenue to meet its direct operation expenses such as maintenance costs, crew costs, landing fees, and navigation charges among others.
Asked about his expert opinion on the performance of current performance of Uganda Airlines, Abderahmane Berthé, the General Secretary of the African Airlines Association – AFRAA, to which Uganda is a member observed that since its revival in 2019 after 18 years of absence, the future of Air Uganda commendable, especially as it acquires new flight routes to expand network.
Since 2019, with six aircraft, Uganda Airlines flies to about 12 destinations including Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, Bujumbura, Mogadishu, Zanzibar, Mombasa, Kinsasha, Juba, Lagos, and South Africa among others. It also operates intercontinental flights to Dubai, Mumbai, London, and Guangzhou.
At its infant state of revival, Uganda Airlines notably suffered global shocks inflicted by COVID-19 global travel restrictions as nations attempted to mitigate the spread of the killer virus.