Lagos flights trigger network effect for Uganda Airlines

Elgon, the Uganda Airlines A330-800 at the gate at Lagos Murtala Muhammad, on October 19, 2023
In Summary

Flag carrier Uganda airlines launched its inaugural service to Nigeria today, with the flight immediately demonstrating […]

Flag carrier Uganda airlines launched its inaugural service to Nigeria today, with the flight immediately demonstrating the network dynamics that officials promised would come into effect, when the airline commenced services to Mumbai a fortnight ago.

Flight UR 900 departed Entebbe International Airport for Lagos Murtala Muhammad International on October 19, with ten passengers and 3 tons of cargo joining the flight from UR 430, which had arrived earlier in the day from Mumbai.

The connecting passengers and cargo joined more than five dozen paying passengers from Entebbe, including a group of 40 businesswomen in the trade and tourism sectors whose travel was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Officials explained that the sponsorship was intended to facilitate “business-to-business linkages for export-ready companies targeting opportunities in Lagos and the wider west African market.

“Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy while Uganda’s central location on the continent makes it the ideal connection hub between East, West, North and Southern Africa,” said Uganda Airlines chief executive Jenifer Bamuturaki.

Bamuturaki also touted the “significant time savings” that the four-hour service will yield “for our guests who will be terminating their journeys in Uganda and those who may wish to travel onward within our network to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Mombasa, Juba, Bujumbura, Kinshasa, Dubai, Mogadishu or Johannesburg and Mumbai.”

Uganda Airlines will operate the Lagos service three times a week with flights on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays. The carrier has deployed its 258-seat Airbus A330-800, to accommodate the anticipated heavy demand for cargo, especially between Mumbai and Lagos.

The first direct scheduled air service between Uganda and Nigeria, Lagos also becomes Uganda Airlines 14th destination and combines elements from the second and third phases of the carrier’s route development plan. According to the initial development plan, the airline was supposed to build its intra-African network to 15 destinations before introducing four intercontinental services to Dubai, London, Mumbai and Guangzhou.

Of these, only London and Guangzhou are pending, with the latter at the most advanced stage of operational readiness.

The launch of Lagos and Mumbai has heightened pressure for frequency growth within the existing network, to generate feed into the new services, while also improving connectivity with destinations such as Nairobi, Kinshasa, Juba and Johannesburg. It has also amplified capacity gaps, with the race now on to rapidly conclude procurement of a pair of mid-range aircraft that were originally planned to join the fleet during year four from 2018.


Related Posts