Africa: Uganda approaches Qatar to restart national carrier project
The Ugandan government has approached Qatar for assistance in raising the funding needed to help in its relaunch of Uganda Airlines (QU, Entebbe/Kampala). The Monitor newspaper reports a delegation of twenty-five businessmen and government officials led by Minister for Privatisation and Investment, Evelyn Anite, held closed-door talks with Sheikh Faisal in Doha last week. Among the topics discussed was the Qataris’ assistance in helping establish a new national carrier. Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int’l) reportedly expressed an interest in the project. “We are still in talks, there is nothing concrete at the moment but as government, we are optimistic that Qatar will soon join us in reviving the Uganda Airlines,” Anite said. Official sources told the paper Yoweri Museveni’s government was forced to seek the Qataris’ assistance after failing to raise initial funding for the project. A government report last year claimed up to UGX1.1 trillion shillings (USD331 million) would be sourced from various financial institutions, one of which could be the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, to fund the airline. Among the more costly purchases to be made would be the acquisition of two A330-200s and several CRJ-900s. Uganda has been without a large scale, scheduled commercial passenger carrier since the collapse of Air Uganda (U7, Entebbe/Kampala) in 2014. As such, it views the establishment of such an airline as a key means of graduating itself to middle-income status.