UGANDA (eTN) – The seasonal flights in August and September between Entebbe, Mombasa, and Zanzibar came to an end last weekend but will resume in December once more to cover the traditional holiday period ahead and over the Christmas and New Year season.
Using the CRJ200 U7 has the right-sized aircraft to serve the route, making the operation financially viable. The major change, however, is due to take effect from mid-January 2012, when, according to a reliable source within the airline, the stop in Mombasa will become part of the flights to Dar es Salaam three days a week, which is in line with an earlier report that it will soon be a truly daily departure, when the airline adds from November onwards the Saturday flight which currently is “missing.”
Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, the service will route from Entebbe via Mombasa (MBA) on to Dar es Salaam (DAR), before returning nonstop to Entebbe again. Presently, the airline has no traffic rights between MBA and DAR, which in theory could be applied for under both East African Community (EAC) and Common Market for Easter and Southern Africa (COMESA) aviation rules.
In contrast, Zanzibar will be available for Air Uganda passengers through a cooperation with ZanAir, which will link the arrival and departure of U7 flights to Dar with the island, in the process offering a daily option as opposed to the three times a week Air Uganda used to offer during the tourist high seasons only. This change will widen the choices of travelers going on a holiday to the “Spice Island,” as they are no longer restricted to three flights only as was the case in the past.
The changes will also serve to challenge other airlines, in particular Fly 540, which has in the past been trying in Uganda to market their connections via Nairobi to the Kenyan coast and to Zanzibar but has been on the back foot since the sudden departure of their country manageress Jackie Arkle, who was generally perceived as “Mama 540” in Uganda, losing market share to both Air Uganda and to regional giant Kenya Airways and putting their future on the Nairobi to Entebbe route into serious doubt.