Notorious Minister of Works and Transport, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala has argued Ugandans to look at Uganda Airlines not as a profitmaking entity, but as Uganda’s asset that finances other sectors adding that given a lot of people tried pulling it down but the government is determined to always support it.
Minister Katumba was speaking this Wednesday as chief guest at a stakeholder engagement meeting by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) at the end of the Aviation Week at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
“Despite all the challenges we are going through as an airline. you know we rarely get any thumbs up these days; all the time the airline is being pulled down by many people, but government is determined to support the industry and the national airline, even though it is not so much of a revenue generating entity as of now, am” he said.
Minister Katumba showed disappointment at the pressure that the airline suffered from the public lately after allegations that it had made losses of more than Shs 500 billion in its three years of operation.
” I normally tell people to look at this airline and treat it like a highway, because what this airline is doing now is creating highways from Entebbe to Guangzhou, from Entebbe and Dubai and elsewhere, and by doing so, it enables us to do business. So let us support the airline so it can achieve what it is intended to do. ” he added.
His comments come after the recent reassess by parliament into the works of Ugandan Airlines which, apart from the huge losses, unearthed many other issues ranging from a questionable salary structure at the company, issues of kickbacks, and senior staff not having academic qualifications including the airline CEO Mrs. Jenifer Bamuturaki.
But in his message, Minister Katumba cautioned that spoiling the image of the airline could impact the entire aviation industry along with the tourism sector which benefits much from air travel.
Speaking at the breakfast meeting, UCAA Director General Mr. Fred Bamwesigye disclosed a big plan to increase the number of passengers flying into the country annually from 900, 000 to about 6. 5million by the end of this decade.