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May 26, 2024
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Uganda Airlines will fly to Mumbai from October 7 every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, the carrier revealed during a prelaunch breakfast organized for leaders of top-tier resident Indian business entities on August 18. Mumbai will be the carrier’s twelfth destination and is expected to be followed by a series of other route announcements, over the next couple of months.

“I am delighted about the opening of Mumbai because it is not only our second international route but because of its significance to bilateral relations, trade, tourism, and culture,” chief executive Jenifer Bamuturaki said during remarks at the curtain raiser. Last week, she already announced that Uganda Airlines will launch services to Mumbai, Lagos (Nigeria), and Riyadh via Jeddah in October.

Starting October 7, the outbound UR 430, on the first direct air service between Uganda and India, will depart Entebbe at 20.25 local time every Monday and Wednesday, arriving in Mumbai at 06.05 in the morning local time the next day. However, the Saturday service will be departing earlier at 17.30 local, arriving in Mumbai on Sunday at 03.30 local.

The return flight UR431 will depart Mumbai at 08.05 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, arriving in Entebbe six and a half hours later the same day. On Sundays, the inbound service will depart Mumbai at 05.10 am for a same-day arrival in Entebbe at 08.40 am.

“We can’t wait to welcome you to have dinner in Entebbe, and breakfast in Mumbai,” said Uganda Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Adedayo Olawuyi.

Saving lengthy flying times

Depending on the routing, the direct service will shave a minimum of six hours off the travel time between Mumbai and Entebbe, something Olawuyi says will translate not just into reduced journey times but more money in passenger pockets, who will be saved lengthy flying times and layovers in transit hubs.

Officials are banking on the 35.000 strong mostly middle-class Indian resident community to generate traffic all year round. Indian entrepreneurs account for a significant portion of Uganda’s wealth, with their businesses generating 65 percent of Uganda’s domestic revenue.

According to Anil Patel, the Managing Partner at business advisory firm Grant Thornton Uganda, who also sponsored the breakfast, the average Indian business leader makes four round trips to India in a year. Additionally, employers of Indian workers sponsor a minimum of one family visit every two years.

“But this direct service should also generate significant VFR traffic because it takes away a lot of the pain that was caused by the poor connectivity between the two countries,” Patel told AirInsight.

India is also a major destination for education and medical referrals from Uganda, who are now more likely to opt for the shorter hop across the Arabian Sea, to India’s western seaboard. Additional traction is expected to come from the connecting traffic that will come from the link with the route to Lagos, which is tentatively set for launch on September 18.

author avatar
Richard Schuurman
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016. Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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