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Uganda inaugurates Mumbai flights

Uganda Airlines has now introduced direct flights to Mumbai, expanding travel choices along the East Africa-India air route. This move intensifies competition among regional airlines, potentially impacting airfares and profits.

The new player is directly competing with Air Tanzania, Kenya Airways, RwandAir, and Ethiopian Airlines, all of which have been connecting travelers from Uganda to India through their hubs.

This year, Indigo, an Indian carrier, initiated flights to Nairobi, and Air India, the national carrier, offers a route connecting Nairobi and New Delhi.

Uganda, home to a resident Indian community of 35,000, recorded 44,000 round trips to Mumbai.

Uganda Airlines officials are emphasizing the shorter flight duration of only six and a half hours as a key attraction to entice point-to-point passengers to the airline. These flights are strategically linked to Lagos, which also aims to capitalize on the benefit of a direct service with a mere four-hour flight time.

The inaugural flight, with nearly 100 passengers, took off after a pre-departure ceremony attended by Uganda’s Minister for Works and Transport, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, and India’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Upender Singh Rawat.

In the previous year, Bank of Uganda reported exports of goods amounting to $94.5 million, in contrast to imports of $898.8 million from India.

India’s high Commissioner, Upender Singh Rawat noted that with a current resident community of 35,000, India stands as the second-largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Uganda. He urged the airline management to accelerate their plans for expanding the service to secondary cities in India.

Gen Wamala highlighted that beyond establishing a crucial link between the two nations, this flight, the first direct connection between India and Uganda represents a strong and enduring relationship that has endured for decades.

“We are happy that Uganda Airlines is re-establishing this air bridge, which will shorten the journey times between two friendly nations, strengthen bilateral trade and deepen cultural interaction between our people” he said.

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