Home » Aviation: Uganda and South Africa deepen trade ties as South African Airlinks launch flights to Entebbe

Aviation: Uganda and South Africa deepen trade ties as South African Airlinks launch flights to Entebbe

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The Uganda Government and its South African counterpart deepened their trade ties in the aviation sector following the launch of Southern African regional Airline, Airlink’s Johannesburg – Entebbe flights at Entebbe International Airport on Sunday.

According to chimpreports.com, the Minister of State for Transport, Fred Byamukama has hailed Uganda’s trade ties with South Africa, which he said have “continued to grow from strength to strength.”

READ: Aviation: Airlink to connect Harare, Maputo, Lusaka, Windhoek as CEO promises to add other African cities in the sub region

Byamukama made the remarks while officiating at the launch of Southern African regional Airline, Airlink’s Johannesburg – Entebbe flights at Entebbe International Airport on Sunday.

The Minister expressed optimism that the new flights will boost Uganda’s tourism sector which was heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

“We are certain that Airlink new services, and others will help rejuvenate and nurture travel and tourism in Uganda; help us (Uganda) open up new markets, and improve partnership between our respective nations, and regional markets,” he said.

READ: Aviation: Rebranded Airlink is Africa’s second biggest airline, offering 1.2 million seats during summer in 2020

“Trade relations between Uganda and South Africa continue to grow from strength to strength. South Africa has been an important source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for Uganda especially in the sectors of mobile telecommunications, brewing and beverages, finance services, wholesale and retail, poultry and energy,” he added.

Uganda is currently exporting goods worth millions of dollars to South Africa including; cotton, gold, tobacco, coffee, fresh flowers among others while South African exports to Uganda include; machinery, motorcars, chemicals, electronics, textiles footwear and household goods among others.

The South African High Commissioner to Uganda, H.E Lalamu Mary Theresa applauded the Ministry of Works and Transport, and Uganda Civil Aviation Authority for issuing a permit to Airlink to operate in Uganda.

She described Uganda as a “beautiful country” with beautiful scenery such as Source of the Nile, National Parks among others that must promote Uganda’s tourism.

Samuel Oneka who represented Director General, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority said the launch of Airlink means a lot to the development of Uganda and other economies in the region.

However, the Airlink’s new flights have been launched at a challenging time when there is heavy downfall of passengers due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

The international passenger traffic reduced from 1.98 million passengers in 2019 to 565,541 in 2020.

Despite the above challenge, Oneka said there has been increase in cargo volumes from 42,000 metric tonnes in 2019 to 58,898 tonnes registered in 2020.

“With more operators including Airlink joining Uganda airspace, we are optimistic that the number of passengers and cargo traffic will continue to grow,” he said.

“More Ugandans will now be able to travel to South Sudan conveniently through direct flights at a competitive price, which will promote our people’s culture, tourism, and business between the two countries,” he added.

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