Uganda Airlines has reestablished its presence in Nigeria after a 21-year hiatus, signaling a significant advancement in air transport collaboration between the two nations. This reconnection comes in the form of a new flight service linking Entebbe International Airport to Lagos, Nigeria.
Initially, the service will consist of three weekly flights with the goal of enhancing connectivity between East and West Africa. To enhance accessibility, the Nigerian government, under the Bilateral Air Services Agreement, approved two more entry points: Abuja and Kano.
This expansion aligns with the Single Africa Air Transport Market, fostering better travel opportunities between East and West Africa.
The flights, scheduled on Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays, have a duration of under five hours. Economy class return tickets are priced at US$ 510, while Business class tickets cost $1800. The introduction of Uganda Airlines’ services in Lagos bridges the gap in travel needs between West and East Africa, promoting regional connectivity globally.
Uganda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Nelson Ocherger, expressed joy over this development. He emphasized the importance of air transport in promoting trade and investment, appreciating the Nigerian government’s approval. Additionally, Uganda is partnering with the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, for training Ugandan aviation professionals, fostering mutual growth.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, highlighted the significance of connecting African neighboring countries directly, reducing dependence on European routes. He emphasized that this initiative would create wealth and shorten travel times within the continent.
The journey for Uganda Airlines to commence flight services to Nigeria began in 2002 when the respective ministers initiated an Air Services Agreement. Despite several revisions, the agreement remained dormant until October 19, 2023, when Uganda Airlines utilized its designated airline to initiate flight operations.
Though this may come as a pleasant news to many, the burning question, particularly on the Nigeria side still remains, why Lagos, Kano and Abuja regional allocations are granted, but the eastern region of Nigeria with over 60 combined tribes and over 80 million in population, get no point of entry consideration?
IMAGE: Business Insider Africa