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Uganda Oil, Tourism to Drive Aviation Growth

Thursday June 2, 2011

The discovery oil, impending production phase and the evolving tourism sector will be a key driver of the aviation industry for Uganda despite the fuel crisis, an industry expert has said.

On the other hand, rising fuel costs and the flight of skills aviation experts will be a major challenge to Africa’s aviation industry in coming years.

British Airways Uganda commercial manager Faith Chaitezvi said recently that Africa will continue to face a skills shortage as its trained personnel leave the continent.

“There will be a skills shortage going forward, pilots are looking at flying bigger aircrafts like A380-Airbus,” said Faith Chaitezvi.

British Airways has already seen changes in the sector partly driven by the oil dynamics.

“Undeniably a lot of things have been based on the oil, we are already seeing a lot of movement of oil companies and the contractors,” said Chaitezvi.

But despite the global economic slowdown and the upheavals in North Africa that have affected oil supply, Chaitezvi says African couriers are competing quite well on the global arena and there is still a lot of opportunities for growth although a lot of couriers are looking at international routes.

“Aviation is part of globalization, so if economies go down, you can only see reduced air travel,” said Chaitezvi in an interview about the sector.

In its recent report, Kenya Airways witnessed the most growth in its domestic routes while within Africa but excluding Kenya, passengers carried totaled 385,812 indicating a growth of 6.0%, according to a statement from the airline.

Cargo tonnage at 14,326 increased by 5.2% compared to the previous year’s level due to focus on high dense cargo and the gradual recovery in the perishable market segment with improved weather patterns.

By David Mugabe: The New Vision Newspaper

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