Uganda Airlines made revenue worth 40 billion Shillings from its operations for the year ending December 2020. This is according to Cornwell Muleya, the Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Airlines Company Limited.
According to Muleya, the Airline carried 77,355 passengers for the year ended June 2020, registering a shortfall of 10 per cent from its target of 85,760 passengers. This also meant that predicted income of 31.5 billion Shillings was not attained, and instead, the airline generated 25.2 billion Shillings. However, the airline made an additional 14.8 billion Shillings from 26,394 passengers at the end of December 2020.
The Average Passenger Load factor for the initial period was at 35 per cent but later increased to 47 per cent as the industry struggled to cope with the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Passenger Load Factor is the measure of how much of an airline’s passenger carrying capacity has been utilized. A higher passenger load factor means that there are less empty seats on each aircraft.
Muleya told the physical infrastructure committee of Parliament on Thursday that the Airlines commercial activities were suspended in March 2020 and they completed the period of up to June 2020 before reopening commercial flights as the Airspace was still closed.
“Before the effects of COVID-19 started in January 2020, there was a positive trend between passenger numbers, load factors, and passenger revenues. COVID-19 effects had started worsening the performance trends before Airspace closure came into effect,” Muleya said. He, however, added that the company re-launched its commercial operations in October 2020.
He says that the Airline which initially operated four Bombardier CRJ 900 Aircrafts carrying 76 passengers each, had projected to have opened all 18 regional destinations by the end of December 2020, assuming flights start in August. However having started operations in October, the airline only managed to operate in nine destinations including a new one to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The other destinations are Bujumbura, Burundi, Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya, Mogadishu in Somalia, Juba in South Sudan, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Arusha in Tanzania. The Airline plans to start long haul routes to Guangzhou in China, London in the UK, Mumbai in India and Dubai in the United Arabs Emirates by March 2021.
But the airline has also accumulated some funding arrears of 89.5 billion Shillings for foreign exchange variations of 3 billion Shillings, capitalization funds shortfalls of 0.90 billion and 85.63 billion Shillings funds for the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority incentives.
The airline has in recent weeks received two AIRBUS Airplanes with the capacity to carry 258 passengers each.