Ethiopian connects Uganda to South Sudan

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Addis Ababa, 23 July 2014 (WIC) - Traders and other organizations transacting business in South Sudan are beaming with smiles of satisfaction after Ethiopian Airlines being granted permission to operate direct flights between Entebbe and Juba starting next week.

This was done in a bid to fill the vacuum of travel options that followed the grounding of Air Uganda flights.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) communication manager Ignie Igundura said they are doing everything possible to make aviation measure to international standards, safe, available and cost effective.

“CAA is seeing to it that the aviation industry operates at expected ICAO standards,” said Igundura.

“The national infrastructure is regularly upgraded as we get ready for increased traffic following booming tourism and oil drilling in Hoima.”

With Ethiopian Airlines destined to get on its wings, the area manager Abebe Angessa says the plight of commuters is going to be history.

“We have had fruitful discussion and that is what we have always been looking at. We are setting aside a Boeing B767 200-sitter plane for that route as a way of accommodating the anticipated traffic. We are positive that this will be a great boost to both parties,” said Angessa.

“A trip Juba will cost from $480 and the flight time will take less than an hour.  It is not about the traders only but also the government officials and NGO who are travelling to and from Juba,” said Angessa.

“We saw fares, following Air Uganda suspension, shoot up by $100 from $578 to $658 and $678 to $1,335,” cried a trader in Kikubo business hub.

“This was barely 30 days since three freighter comprising; Air Uganda, Transafrik Uganda Ltd and Ministry of defense owned Uganda Air Cargo were suspended. This has made queues on most bus terminals in the region longer.”

In a related incident, after the completion of runway repairs and capacity caps at Dubai’s International Airport recently, which saw the closure of 80 scheduled flights during which both runways were fully re-carpeted, has also signaled a return to normal schedules by Emirates and the return of airlines from other airports in the UAE they opted to use during the past nearly three months.

Nairobi will now see the restoration of their two daily Emirates’ services which were reduced to just one flight per day, similar to a number of other destinations in Africa, after DXB’s largest airline had to reduce capacity by some 25 percent overall.

This Dubai’s award-winning airline flies twice a day to Nairobi, twice a day to Dar es Salaam and once a day to Entebbe.

It boast a strong brand image in the region based on punctuality, perfect in-flight service and connectivity via Dubai to the rest of the world, with numerous destinations served.

In addition to that is, having 50 0f the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380.

Unfortunately, none of the East African destinations has the capacity to handle the A380 with a dedicated gate position, catering for boarding and deplaning of the double deck aircraft.

On the routes to East Africa, Emirates deploys a mix of Airbus A330, A340 and the B777. (New Vision Uganda)