Uganda Airlines has announced direct flight operations to and from Nigeria.
Its airline will fly directly from its base at the Entebbe International Airport to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos effective Thursday, October 19, 2023.
In an exclusive interview with TheTimes, the airline confirmed the commencement of direct operations between the two countries would be the first time travellers have the opportunity to fly non-stop between Nigeria and Uganda.
Before now, Nigerians looking to travel to Uganda or other East African countries relied on Kenya Airways and South African Airways as the airline of choice.
The addition of Uganda Air to that route creates new competition that could lead to lower airfares for passengers.
In addition, the new development would enable direct flights, eliminating connecting flights and man-hour loss occasioned due to the long flying hours.
It currently takes between 9 to 12 hours to connect to Entebbe from Nigeria, but with the commencement of this non-stop flight, it would be reduced to just four hours.
Speaking with TheTimes on Thursday, Mr. Adedayo Olawuyi, Chief Commercial Officer (COO), of Uganda Airlines, said that Nigeria being the biggest economy on the continent needed to further ease exploration and seamless connectivity of passengers.
- “Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people, is one of the easier choices to pick from because of the population and the economy and therefore gives opportunity to people to fly in and out of the country.
- “That also means that we have a lot of people who fly in and out of Nigeria for different reasons. So, Nigeria as a destination was quite an easy decision”
Secondly, as there is no direct service currently between Entebbe and Lagos, the route to Entebbe needed to open up for Nigerians to benefit from the big market that is there for trade, tourism and others who want to visit friends and families.
An air ticket from Lagos to Nairobi using any of the airlines costs around $500 for a round trip.
Airfares in Nigeria have skyrocketed over the last few months as Nigeria’s local currency the naira continues to depreciate. A $500 ticket that used to cost N400k earlier in the year will now cost around N500k at current black-market rates.