Jenifer Bamuturaki, the Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda National Airlines Company, has stated that the national flag carrier anticipates a minimum of three additional years before achieving financial stability.
As per reports from the Auditor General, Uganda Airlines experienced financial challenges over the past three fiscal years, reporting significant losses of 104 billion Shillings in FY 2020/21, 164 billion in FY 2021/22, and 234 billion in FY 2022/23, totaling 502 billion Shillings.
The Auditor General’s findings prompted a closer examination of the airline’s operations by the Public Accounts Committee on Commission, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (COSASE) to guide the formulation of the entity’s strategic plan.
In an interview with URN, Bamuturaki clarified that the negative portrayal in the audit reports was justifiable, citing unavoidable variables and administrative costs during the reviewed period. To address these losses, she emphasized the company’s initiatives, such as managing fuel and oil costs, maintenance, rentals, and crew expenditures through strategies like personnel training, process automation, airplane seat configuration adjustments, and the expansion of routes.
Bamuturaki disclosed that her administration has set a realistic timeline of at least three years to achieve profitability. Currently, the airline generates up to 85 percent of its revenue to cover direct operational expenses, including maintenance costs, crew expenses, landing fees, and navigation charges.
Regarding the assessment of Uganda Airlines’ current performance, Abderahmane Berthé, the General Secretary of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), remarked that the future of Air Uganda appears promising, especially considering its growth in acquiring new flight routes since its revival in 2019 after an 18-year hiatus.
Since 2019, Uganda Airlines, operating with six aircraft, serves approximately 12 destinations, including Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, Bujumbura, Mogadishu, Zanzibar, Mombasa, Kinsasha, Juba, Lagos, and South Africa. The airline also operates intercontinental flights to Dubai, Mumbai, London, and Guangzhou.
During its early stages of revival, Uganda Airlines faced global challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to travel restrictions worldwide as nations sought to control the virus’s spread.