The end of the year 2017 is not looking rosy for many businesses. With talk that Bharti Group-owners of Airtel are in advanced plans of selling off most of their Africa operations, save for Uganda, and the alleged closure of Smile Telecom, it is financial distress galore.
The latest in this string of exits is Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways. Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi’s national airline launched flights between Entebbe International Airport and Abu Dhabi on May 1, 2015.
Three years later, the airline last evening issued a press release announcing their discontinuation of flights on the Entebbe-Abu Dhabi routes.
The airline instead “gifted” Kenya Airways with the responsibility of finalizing the transfers of their booked passengers to their destinations.
Etihad served Entebbe four times a week by a two-class Airbus A320 aircraft with 16 Business Class and 120 Economy Class seats.
Etihad launched in Uganda with a vision to provide business and leisure travellers with a direct four-times-per-week service between the East African country and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with convenient onward connections to key destinations in the GCC region, Europe, Indian Subcontinent, North Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia.
In a statement released last evening, the airline offered to re-route and connect its passengers on Kenya Airways.“As a result of cancellation of EY 645/646 service to and from Entebbe, effective March 25, 2018, we are offering the following options for passengers who purchased tickets on or before December 18, 2017, from travel on or after March 25,” the statement said.
Etihad Airways becomes the second airline from the Gulf Region to exit Uganda. In 2012, Gulf Air which is The Kingdom of Bahrain’s principal flag carrier quit, barely three months after re-launching its services. The airline cited high operation costs and losses as reasons for this decision.