Uganda's government has approved plans for a new national airline and is now in the process of deciding what form it will take.

Speaking to Flightglobal at the Routes Africa conference in Tenerife on 28 June, Ignie Igunduura – head of public affairs at Uganda's civil aviation authority – said that studies submitted by the regulator and experts "both indicated we needed a new national airline, especially if we are going to hub at our national airport at Entebbe".

The are "several options" for how a new carrier might be constituted, he adds. Those being considered include a joint venture, a fully state-owned entity, and a carrier that is established by the government and then listed via an IPO.

Igunduura says the government wants the carrier to have an initial fleet of seven aircraft and to operate a network with "regional and internal flights being prioritised", followed by international routes.

He indicates that the government is looking at ordering "medium-sized jets" and is examining Embraer and Bombardier CRJ regional jets.

Uganda has been without a publicly owned carrier since 2001 when Uganda Airlines ceased operations. Privately owned Air Uganda operated between 2007 and 2014.

Flightglobal's Innovata schedules show Ethiopian Airlines as the largest operator at Entebbe with more than 19% of seat capacity, followed by RwandAir with some 13%.

Plans are under way to expand capacity at Entebbe airport, says Igunduura. He says the current terminal is designed to handle 2.5 million passengers per year, but with 1.5 million passengers handled last year, Entebbe was already "beginning to experience a lot of space constraints in terms of passenger facilities and also aircraft parking space", he says.

Source: Cirium Dashboard