SAA begins move towards double-daily Johannesburg-Entebbe service
KAMPALA, JUNE16 – South African flag carrier SAA, will at the end of July start testing the waters with double departures between Entebbe and Johannesburg on Sundays, a development that industry observers believe is the beginning of the long-awaited deployment of a double-daily frequency on the route.
Depending on the equipment deployed, the Sunday departure adds 124 seats on the route if an Airbus A319 is used or 162 if a Boeing 737-800 is deployed.
Although an official at the SAA Kampala office said the second departure on Sundays is response to customers who wanted to be able to spend more time with their families on either end, frequent travelers will recall a time back in the later 1990’s when travelers had the option of flying either SAA or Uganda Airlines on the odd-numbered days when their schedule coincided. After the liquidation of Uganda Airlines in 2001, that role would be assumed by the short-lived East African Airlines that went bust in mid- 2003.
The carrier will however maintain its staggered departure schedule with afternoon departures out of Entebbe from Monday through Saturday and the reverse on order on the alternate days.
Uganda is host to a number of South Africa headquartered multinationals who have been generating a lot of business travel but a second departure on Sunday serves both this segment and leisure travelers who may want to make a short hop to either Entebbe or Jose over the weekend. SAA’s move is also likely to reset competition on the route, where there is significant spillage of origin to destination traffic to Kenya Airways and Rwandair.
With the South African rand at record lows against the US dollar and a fairly stable Ugandan unit, the new flight could as well generate new leisure traffic.