Air Uganda

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Air Uganda
Air Uganda logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 2007
Ceased operations 2014
Operating bases Entebbe International Airport
Focus cities Kampala, Entebbe
Frequent-flyer program Celestars
Fleet size 0 (see below)
Destinations 9 (suspended)
Company slogan The Wings of East Africa
Parent company Celestair (Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development)
Headquarters 4 Wampewo Avenue
Kololo, Kampala, Uganda
Key people Cornwell Muleya, CEO[1]

Meridiana Africa Airlines (Uganda) Limited, trading as Air Uganda,[2] was a privately owned airline in Uganda from 2007-2014, which suspended its operations due to its air operator's certificate (AOC) being revoked by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).[3]

Until then, Air Uganda had been largely recognized as the national carrier, following the collapse of Uganda Airlines in May 2001.[4] Headquartered in Kampala,[5] and with its operations base at Entebbe International Airport, Air Uganda used a fleet of three aircraft to operate scheduled flights from Entebbe to various countries in Eastern and Central Africa.


Air Uganda was formed in 2007, beginning commercial flight operations on 15 November 2007,[6] and was reported to have carried over 70,000 passengers within its first twelve months, with an average load factor of 70% between Entebbe and Juba. The load factor between Entebbe and Nairobi averaged 60% during the first year of operation.[7]

In the fourth quarter of 2011, Air Uganda announced plans to start domestic service during 2012. This would require the airline to acquire appropriate aircraft to serve the domestic market.[4]

During 2012, Air Uganda, in its fifth year of operations, began self-handling at its hub at Entebbe International Airport, and was authorised to handle any other airline that chooses to use their handling service. The move will save the airline at least US$700,000 annually.[8][9]

In November 2013, the airline marked the sixth anniversary of its founding. At that time, it was the only Ugandan airline licensed by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), to operate regular scheduled flights to neighboring countries.[10] The Government of Uganda is reported to be considering becoming a shareholder in the airline.[11][12]

In May 2014 Air Uganda became a full member of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), a trade organization of the industry on the continent.[13] In the same month, it was announced that the airline had been admitted to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).[14]

On 17 July 2014 Air Uganda suspended operations indefinitely after the issuer of its licence, the CAA, ran into problems. CAA had failed a safety audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in June 2014, resulting in CAA withdrawing licenses it had issued to air operators.[15] At the time Air Uganda said its potential re-certification was weeks away and that lessors have recalled their aircraft, opening a window for other carriers to grow passenger volumes in its area of operations.

Corporate affairs[edit]

Ownership and associated companies[edit]

An Air Uganda McDonnell Douglas MD-87 at Entebbe International Airport, pictured in August 2009

Meridiana Africa Airlines (Uganda) Limited was 100% owned by the Celestair Group, which in turn is owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED). AKFED also controls Air Burkina and Air Mali, the national airlines of Burkina Faso and Mali respectively, and has an interest in Europe in Meridiana fly.[16] There had been press reports that the Ugandan Government may be interested in taking a stake in the airline.[17] In December 2013, at a meeting in Paris, France, the President of Uganda and the Aga Khan, announced that they had agreed to allow the Government of Uganda to become an investor in Air Uganda.[18]

Business trends[edit]

Because it was a private company, annual reports for Air Uganda were not published. In the absence of these, the little information that became available is shown below:

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Number of employees 180
Number of passengers (000s) 70 155 170
Passenger load factor (%) 65%
Number of aircraft (at year end) 3 4 3
Notes/sources [19] [20][21]


Air Uganda maintained regular services to the following destinations:[24]

Code share agreements and partnerships[edit]

During the second half of 2008, Air Uganda signed code share agreements with Air Tanzania on the Entebbe/Kilimanjaro, Entebbe/Dar-es-Salaam and Entebbe/Zanzibar routes which both airlines serviced. Code share agreements were also signed with Brussels Airlines on the Entebbe/Juba route serviced by Air Uganda and on the Entebbe/Brussels route serviced by Brussels Airlines. These arrangements were soon followed by similar agreements between Air Uganda and Qatar Airways [29]

In early 2009, Air Uganda made arrangements with Marsland Aviation for the latter to transport Air Uganda ticketed passengers between Juba and Khartoum and between Khartoum and Juba. Air Uganda traveled this route on two days a week. Marsland Aviation carried Air Uganda passengers on the five days a week, when Air Uganda did not service the route.[30]

In June 2010, Air Uganda signed a code share agreement with Rwandair on the Entebbe - Kigali route. Air Uganda will service the route with a daily morning flight while Rwandair will provide a daily evening flight. Both airlines service the route with CRJ-200 aircraft.[31] Those arrangements were halted when Air Uganda served notice to Rwandair, of intentions to terminate the codeshare arrangement, effective March 2012.[32]

On 14 August 2013, a new codeshare agreement between Air Uganda and Rwandair on the Entebbe-Kigali route was signed between the two CEOs of the respective airlines. The agreement became effective immediately.[33] In January 2014, Air Uganda signed a codeshare agreement with Precision Air of Tanzania on the Entebbe-Dar es Salaam route and on the Entebbe-Kilimanjaro route.[34][35]

As of November 2013, Air Uganda maintained Interline partnerships with the following airlines: Brussels Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Air Mali, Precision Air, Hahn Air and RwandAir.[36]


The Air Uganda fleet consisted of the following aircraft, as of April 2014, although in July 2014 they were reported as being returned to the European contractor from whom they were leased:[37][38][39] [40]

Air Uganda
Aircraft In fleet Order Passengers Notes
Bombardier CRJ200 3 0 50
Total 3 0

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On 9 January 2010, the US Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, warned of a possible terrorist threat on Air Uganda planes traveling between Juba, South Sudan, and Entebbe, Uganda. According to the embassy, it had received information that indicated "a desire by regional extremists to conduct a deadly attack on board Air Uganda aircraft." According to the Sudanese foreign ministry, however, the threat was not considered serious. The Uganda People's Defence Force said that they had been aware of this information since early December, 2009, although a Ugandan government spokesman said there was nothing to support such claims.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (8 April 2013). "New Chief At Air Uganda". eTN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (3 February 2013). "Uganda Government Considering Stake In Air Uganda". eTN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "Air Uganda To Begin Domestic Service". New Vision. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Air Uganda Increases Flights to Dar." New Vision. Monday 23 February 2009. Retrieved on 19 October 2009.
  6. ^ "Air Uganda Opens Flights to Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania". Sudan Tribune from Reuters. 16 November 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Wakabi, Michael (7 November 2008). "Air Uganda Expecting to Break Even In 2009". The East African. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Wakabi, Michael (20 November 2011). "Air Uganda’s Turnaround On Course As It Begins Fifth Year". The EastAfrican. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (11 December 2011). "ENHAS Loses Out As CAA Approves Self Handling for Air Uganda Come January 2012". Wolfgang H. Thome's Blog. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (16 November 2013). "U7 Now 6 Years Old". eTN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Vision, Reporter (6 December 2013). "Government to Buy Shares In Air Uganda: Museveni, Aga Khan Discuss Deal". New Vision. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (7 December 2013). "Government To Invest In Air Uganda Finally". eTN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (21 May 2014). "Air Uganda Joins African Airline Association – IATA Next". ETN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  14. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (24 May 2014). "Air Uganda Joins IATA". ETN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Juma, Victor (21 July 2014). "Air Uganda suspension big gain for Kenya carrier". Daily Nation, Kenya. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  16. ^ "About Air Uganda". Air Uganda. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  17. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (4 February 2013). "Uganda Government Considering Stake In Air Uganda". eTN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  18. ^ Vision, Reporter (6 December 2013). "Government To Buy Shares In Air Uganda". Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  19. ^ "Air Uganda flies high on code sharing deals". Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  20. ^ "Digital Brochure". Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  21. ^ CAPA, Aviation Analysis (1 August 2013). "Uganda Plans To Relaunch Uganda Airlines And Invest USD400 Million In Airport Developments". CAPA Centre for Aviation & Innovata. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  22. ^ Khisa, Isaac (21 June 2014). "Three Airlines To Re-Apply for Operation Certificates In Uganda". The EastAfrican. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Eisman-Reynard, Hannah (2013). "Air Uganda". Africa Outlook. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  24. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (28 March 2014). "More Flights To Key Destinations Across Eastern Africa". eTN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  25. ^ By, Staff (26 October 2011). "Air Uganda Set to Launch Entebbe-Bujumbura Service". Airlines And Destinations. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  26. ^ Standard, Reporter (20 April 2012). "Air Uganda Ups Daily Fights On Entebbe-Mombasa Route". Standard Digital News. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  27. ^ "Air Uganda Takes Delivery of Third CRJ-200". eTN Global Travel Industry News. 6 May 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  28. ^ Ssebuyira, Martin (1 June 2013). "Air Uganda Acquires Aircraft to Ply Entebbe-Kilimanjaro Route". Daily Monitor. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  29. ^ Wakabi, Michael (19 October 2008). "Air Uganda In Deal for Europe, Far East Routes". Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  30. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (6 February 2009). "Wolfgang's East Africa Tourism Report: Air Uganda Adds Khartoum". eTN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  31. ^ Ngarambe, Alex (1 June 2010). "RwandAir, Air Uganda Ink Code Share Deal". The New Times (Rwanda) via Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  32. ^ Thome, Wolfgang (27 January 2012). "Air Uganda Terminates Codeshare Agreement With RwandAir". eTN Global Travel Industry News. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  33. ^ "More Codeshare Flights Between Air Uganda And RwandAir". eTN Global Travel Industry News. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  34. ^ By Daily News, Reporter (21 January 2014). "Precision Air Partners With Air Uganda". Daily News (Tanzania). Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  35. ^ Guardian, Reporter (21 January 2014). "Precision Air, Air Uganda Partner To Boost Efficiency". IPP Media from The Guardian (Tanzania). Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  36. ^ "Our Airline Partners: Our Interline Partners". Air Uganda. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  37. ^ "About U7: Our Fleet". Air Uganda. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  38. ^ "Air Uganda Fleet In April 2014". CH Aviation. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  39. ^ "Air Uganda Takes Delivery of Third CRJ-200". eTN Global Travel Industry News. 6 May 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  40. ^ Oluka, Benon Herbert (21 July 2014). "Suspended Air Uganda to return leased planes". The Observer. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  41. ^ "US warns of attacks on Uganda-Sudan planes". BBC. 9 January 2010. Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 

External links[edit]