Ugandans have reacted enthusiastically to the relaunch of the Uganda Airlines which had its inaugural flight on Tuesday, August 27, 2019. Initial skepticism that the airline would ever see the light of day was dispelled when the day finally arrived and the plane lifted off.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who pushed through the relaunch of the airline amidst much doubt from the political elite was clearly delighted.
On his official social media handles, President Museveni congratulated the team that is running the relaunched Uganda Airlines for a successful takeoff. President Museveni noted, I congratulate @UG_Airlines on their inaugural flight. We have been spending over $450m annually in foreign exchange, on travel by air. This Airline will change this and facilitate tourism as well. I urge Ugandans and our friends all over the world to fly with #UgandaAirlines. “
The launch ceremony at Entebbe International Airport was followed by the first commercial flight Wednesday 28th Aug 2019 that flew to Juba, South Sudan.
Museveni’s message was quickly followed by congratulatory messages from prominent government officials.
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda added his voice, “Fellow Ugandans, our proud national carrier presents opportunities across all sectors. As you have been told, the airline will first fly to 7 destinations starting with Nairobi, Juba, Mogadishu & Dar. Therefore, its success will lead to the dev’t of Uganda #LetsGo.”
Works and Transport minister Monica Azuba Ntege was just as excited over the development, “After 20yrs, Gov’t has successfully revived the National Carrier @UG_Airlines. The first commercial flight this morning was a smooth one to Nairobi. Entry of Uganda Airlines in the regional aviation will improve efficiency of travel & enhance ease of doing business in the region.”
This first flight was captained by Chief Pilot Michael Etiang whose humility and warmth in coming out to personally greet his fliers charmed many of the passengers.
The experience prompted many Ugandans including Bernard Mukasa to suggest, “I hope the Government of Uganda will make it a policy for all its civil servants to use @UG_Airlines whenever they have to travel to places that are on its destination list. This will be a good boost.”
Muhammad could not help but feel, “The pride that comes with landing in a plane that is carrying your national flag 🇺🇬. Cabin Crew speaking a language you’re familiar with. Enjoying a Rolex at 30,000 ft above sea level with nyanya mbisi.”
In fact more service providers are already jumping in on the action with offers to liven passengers experience on Uganda Airlines. Many Ugandans have been chuffed and excited to learn that on the menu of the flight will be offerings of local delicacies like the famed Rolex snack made of rolled chapatti and eggs.
Cafe Javas, one of Uganda’s best known eateries, has suggested its own delicacies that range from African meals to continental dishes also be included.
Nice House of Plastics does not want to left out and made witty fun of the hand written boarding pass with assurance that its pens provide the most reliable writing service.
Among the first brands on the national carrier is Uganda Waragi, a local gin made by Uganda Breweries Limited. The gin is classified as a hard drink by the airline.
Wavah water, owned by businessman Gordon Wavamuno, has a 300ml small bottle, specifically bottled for the airline.
Jesa Yoghurt, the brand associated with Jesa Farm Dairy Limited of the Mulwana Group, is also a permanent fixture on the revived national carrier.
Lato Milk, a brand by the Mbarara-based Pearly Dairy Farms Limited, is also a big feature on the Uganda Airlines’ customers’ menu.
Proponents of starting the national carrier argued that with it, Ugandan brands would benefit from a chance to be served in-flight.
The revival of the brand, orginally founded by dictator Idi Amin in 1977 but grounded in 2001 amid financial difficulties, is aimed at capitalizing on opportunities in agriculture, minerals, tourism and oil and gas sectors, said Monica Ntege Azuba, Uganda’s minister of works and transport.
Recent years have seen growing international interest in Uganda as a vacation destination with travelers drawn by beautiful national parks, beach resorts and wildlife such as rare mountain gorillas.