Aviation is a notable factor in the tourism sector and world travelers including those on safaris to Uganda find it critical while choosing the destination to visit. Many of the frequent travelers in Uganda including the workers of International relief agencies and Non-Governmental Organization have found it ideal to use the air travel to connect to distant destinations especially the north of Uganda where they have been operating for long.
The domestic flights are continually being preferred citing their contribution to the cost reduction in terms of time and the money spent. Even for the Uganda safari undertakers have found it ideal to save themselves long drives and long hours of transfers. For example a flight to Moroto would take one hour while by road; it would take the whole day in addition to the drivers allowance, the tear and wear of the vehicle and the fuel costs.
Considering the fact that the count of African elites have been rising overtime including Ugandans not forgetting the Oil discovery, the use of domestic air transport cannot be avoided. It can be noted that Arua Airstrip was able to handle 15,000 passengers in the year 2014 and this was followed by Kasese that handled 12,000 passengers some of which included those on safaris in Uganda.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Public Affairs Manager Ignie Igundura notes that the domestic passengers are anticipated to rise to 60,000 by the year 2018 and 152,000 in the year 2023. The movement of domestic air-crafts are anticipated to rise to 6,300 in the year 2018 and 11,600 in the year 2023. The Entebbe International Airport expansion that was launched on 29th August 2015 intends to accommodate the anticipated traffic increase ahead of the oil industry while the engineering and master plan works for Gulu and Kasese are complete while Mbarara is undergoing simple upgrading including the fencing of aerodrome to improve safety.
Uganda features a range of domestic careers including the Aerolink, MAF, Africa Safari Air, Asante aviation, United Airlines, Transafrik Uganda, Eagle Air Uganda along with Uganda Air Cargo. These carriers feature clear safety record since the Civil Aviation Authority trusts that safety and security are the cores of the successful global aviation industry. Uganda is thus investing heavily in personnel skilling, equipment procurement along with plant to prepare for the regular audits in those two fields.
The International Air Transport Association Reports indicate that Africa’s passenger growth will rise to surpass over other continents in the world in the 20 years to come as a result of population growth and that that considerable part of this travel will be within Africa. The destination Uganda was able to get 22,789 passengers in the year 2014 rising from the 2012 figure of 13,780. The Eagle Air which is registered locally in Uganda took the great share of domestic passengers in the year 2014 at 14,850 passengers.
The Uganda’s Civil Aviation is extending the incentives to encourage the domestic aviation including the 100% discount on the aeronautical charges for 1 flight out of 7 frequencies in a week in/out of Entebbe International Airport on a given sector for the domestic operators that are scheduled. A 2% discount on aeronautical charges for carriers that take 20% of the total year traffic is also extended. In addition, a 2.5% discount is extended to the scheduled and the non-scheduled local carriers spreading over 10 years regarding the aircraft acquisition on terms that the equipment be registered and used in Uganda along with $300,000 minimum capital investment. An equivalent of 10% of the cost of capital investment cost stretched over 10 years is extended as rebates on the rates of land lease and the fees for concession for the infrastructure of aviation carried out in Uganda. The government is also undertaking the upgrading of aerodromes to the level of Airports. All these efforts are intended to the see the development of domestic aviation spur and ease the air travel even for those on Uganda tours.