The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Emirates Air, has ended its code-sharing agreement with the Uganda Airlines Corporation (UAC), UAC reservation manager Vassy Rutagira said Saturday, March 24.
The move was a major blow to the airline as it was one of UAC's few remaining lucrative routes, said Rutagira. "For the time being, we are out of business on the Middle East route, until we get a solution," Rutagira said by telephone in Kampala.
It will affect up to 250 passengers a month on the ailing national carrier, which is facing the prospect of liquidation. The fate of the airline has yet to be finalized by the Ugandan government.
UAC also has code-sharing arrangements with other regional air companies: Air Tanzania, Aero Zambia and the Johannesburg-based Regional Air.
Sources in Kampala said that discussions were currently going on to shop for another air company to handle Ugandan passengers to Middle East destinations. The termination of the coding arrangement followed a decision by the Uganda Privatization Unit to inform Emirates Air of the planned liquidation of the Uganda Airlines.
Ugandan Finance Minister Manzi Tumubweine said earlier this week that the future of the airline had yet to be finalized by the government. Last year, the finance, planning and economic development ministry decided to wind it up, because it was unprofitable and had become a liability.
Several international air companies have expressed interest, but later pulled out. The final potential bidder, South African Airways (SAA), also pulled out after months of discussions, saying it was no longer as profitable as it was at the time of tendering. — (AFP, Kampala)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)