Alliance Air (Uganda)

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Alliance Air
SA Alliance Air Boeing 747SP Gilliand.jpg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 12 December 1994
Commenced operations July 1995
Ceased operations October 2000
Hubs Entebbe International Airport
Fleet size 1
Destinations 4
Key people Christo Roodt, MD

Alliance Airlines (later known SA Alliance Air) was a multi-national long-haul airline based at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda. It was set up in 1995 as a joint venture between South African Airways (SAA) and the governments of Tanzania and Uganda. The airline ceased operations in 2000.[1]


The airline's formation was linked to the African Joint Air Services (AJAS) Accord which was signed in 1990 by Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The latter left in 1992 due to lack of funds. It began operations in July 1995 and operated a single Boeing 747SP leased from SAA,[1][2] painted in the distinctive Alliance Air colour scheme.

Alliance Air had planned to serve Dar es Salaam, Dubai, Entebbe, Johannesburg, London and Mumbai. Flights to Rome would have been added at a later date. The launch of the airline sent shock waves to Kenya Airways, the dominant airline in the region.[3]

It was renamed SA Alliance Air[4] for a short while with an SA Alliance Express sister airline as well featuring a new logo based on the South African Airways flag inspired tail design.[5] However this look was not applied to any aircraft.

Corporate Affairs[edit]

At inception the airline was led by Christo Roodt as its Managing Director. Members of the board included Michael Katz, Anton Moolman and Mike Myburgh from South Africa; Joseph Mungai and Adrian Sibo from Tanzania and Uganda respectively.[2] In 1998, the airline bought a 49% stake in the Rwandan flag carrier Air Rwanda and operated as Alliance Express.[6]


Its effective shareholding was 40:30:30 owned by SAA, Tanzania and Uganda respectively. However, the actual ownership structure was as follows:[7]

Shareholder Percentage
Government of Tanzania
Government of Uganda
Air Tanzania Corporation
Uganda Airlines
Held in Trust for Tanzanian and Ugandan private investors
South African Airways

The airline had planned to offload 30% of its equity to Tanzanian and Ugandan investors and this block of shares were held in trust by the governments of the two nations. However, this never materialized.


Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) left this venture in June 1998 and its departure was welcomed by the airline calling it a 'constant hindrance'.[8] Uganda Airlines too parted ways the following year.[9]

The joint venture was renamed to SA Alliance Air from 1999 until its demise.[10] Transnet, the parent company of SAA ceased funding the airline in March 2000. Its rationale was to force the two nations in opening their regional and domestic routes to the airline, thus intending to make it the defacto regional carrier. ATC accused SAA of taking over national airlines of the region using the joint venture as a Trojan Horse. The airline required a monthly subsidy of US$420,000 in order to maintain its long haul flights. SAA was willing to fund its share of the deficit subject to the other partners willingness to fund the remaining 60%.[11]

Uganda's transport minister said there were more than 50 areas of conflict with SAA.[12] In October 2000, the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) and Dairo Air Services (DAS) of Uganda offered to buy their governments' stake in the venture.[13]

The airline cease to operate in 2000 and its exaugural flight from London to Johannesburg (via Entebbe) departed on 8 October. Both Tanzania and Uganda cited overdependence on SAA for the joint venture's going concern. It had accumulated losses to the tune of US$ 50 million[14]


During its lifetime, the airline served the following destinations:[15]

City Country IATA ICAO Airport
Dar es Salaam  Tanzania DAR HTDA Dar es Salaam International Airport
Entebbe  Uganda EBB HUEN Entebbe International Airport [Hub]
Kilimanjaro  Tanzania JRO HTKJ Kilimanjaro International Airport
London  United Kingdom LHR EGLL London Heathrow Airport


  1. ^ a b details for SA Alliance Air
  2. ^ a b "Alliance Air: A promising airline alliance". African Aviation. January 1995. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "New Alliance threatens regional giant". African Business. March 1995. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  4. ^ List of Airlines of Uganda
  5. ^ SA Alliance Air/SA Alliance Express October 1999 joint timetable cover
  6. ^ "Alliance Express". Flightglobal. 1998. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "African turf fight". 1 January 1998. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Sighs of relief as Air Tanzania quits alliance". Business Day (South Africa). 9 June 1998. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "AIRLINE PRIVATIZATION" (PDF). ICAO. May 2000. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "List of Ugandan Airlines". Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Wakabi, Michael (11 April 2000). "Transnet leaves SA Alliance in crisis". Flightglobal. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "SAA sets its sights on Air Tanzania after pulling out of bid for Uganda". Flightglobal. 25 April 2000. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "Private Firms Want to Buy Alliance Air". The EastAfrican. 5 October 2000. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Wakabi, Michael (17 October 2000). "$50 million losses forces Alliance Air to close". Flightglobal. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  15. ^ OAG World Airways Guide A-M, October 1997, page 9. Reed Publications. Retrieved on March 3, 2012.