Observers have welcomed the entry of Kenyan airline, Jambojet, into the Ugandan airspace, saying this is likely to reduce the cost of travelling between Entebbe and Nairobi.
The airline launched last week and will operate double daily flights with departures from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at 09:10am and 17:30pm. They will also have two flights from Entebbe International airport for Nairobi at 11am and 19:20pm every day.
Jambojet is expected to bring competition among airlines plying the Entebbe-Nairobi route, a move that will lower air prices for frequent travellers.
The airline has an introductory fare of Shs 400,000 per route, which is among the cheapest. Currently, the cheapest ticket on that route has been going for Shs 525,000.
Speaking during the launch at Entebbe airport, Jambojet chief executive officer, Willem Hondius, said the price was intended to encourage more people to travel by air both in Uganda and the region.
“In East Africa alone, we have a market of over 100 million people and we have barely scratched the surface in air travel. We believe that Jambojet’s entry into Uganda will make air travel more affordable to majority of people who travel for business or leisure in the region and beyond,” Hondius said.
He noted that there is a huge opportunity for the tourism sector to develop too.
“In particular, we expect the tourism industry to reap maximum benefits from facilitation of an EA circuit which would give tourists an opportunity to visit scenic attractions in Uganda such as the source of the Nile., Murchison Falls national park, Queen Elizabeth national park and the rare Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest,” he said.
The ministry of Works’ director of transport, Benon Kajuna, who represented government, said the growth of air transport sector was important for the entire economy since it created opportunities for investment, capacity building and employment including creating linkages for better intra-regional trade.
“We need to build capacity to allow our local businesses to have greater access to foreign markets. Air transport and connectivity supports exports and simultaneously increases competition and choice in the home market from foreign-based producers,” he said.
“This in turn encourages firms to specialize in areas where they possess a comparative advantage, allowing for opportunities to exploit economies of scale, which lowers the cost of production and ultimately benefits domestic consumers.”