- Gen Katumba Wamala presided over the maiden flight with 200 Ugandan Muslim pilgrims transported to Jeddah Mecca
- Director flights to be launched between Entebbe and Jeddah Saudi Arabia
- Ugandan travelers will no-longer go through intermediary airports for flight connections
Uganda Airlines the national carrier has today made a historic- maiden flight to Saudi Arabia after 40 years .
It was pomp and glamour at the Entebbe International airport as Works and Transport Minister Gen. Katumba Wamala flagged-off the flight with 200 Ugandan pilgrims that will participate in the annual Muslim pilgrimage to the holy site Mecca in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Ugandan flight captain Bob Wakweya was in charge of the maiden Uganda Airlines flight in the new Airbus A330 plane which has a capacity of carrying 258 passengers.
Another 250 pilgrims will be transported by Uganda Airlines tomorrow .
Also present at the flight launch ceremony were the 3rd Deputy Prime Minister Rukia Nakadama, Ambassador of Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Uganda -Sheikh Jamal Al – Madani, the Uganda Airlines CEO Ms. Jennifer Bamuturaki, the Head of Corporate Affairs, Shakila Rahim , Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Director General , Fred Bamwesigye, Muslim leaders and other diplomats.
A jovial gen Katumba Wamala said that by Uganda Airlines launch of direct flights to the Arab rich nation, movement will be eased for Ugandan pilgrims who make the trip to Mecca for Hajj every year.
“While in transit, the pilgrims are able to communicate in the local language because our attendants can speak the local language. What has been happening is that our pilgrims to Mecca have been using transit routes. This is an opportunity to travel directly,” Minister Katumba Wamala said .
Works Minister Gen. Katumba Wamala superintending over the revival of the national carrier the Uganda Airlines
Nakadama asked the pilgrims to pray for the country, the president and the entire population.
Nakadama added ,“I want to thank the Ministry of Works and Transport for giving us Uganda Airlines to take our first batch of pilgrims to Mecca. I want to thank all those who have supported Uganda by promoting Uganda Airlines.”
Second deputy Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Muhammad Ali Waisswa said they were pleased with the recovery programmes being undertaken by government which has allowed for the national carrier to take pilgrims to Mecca since the mid 1970s.
CEO Bamuturaki said that the pilgrims were extremely happy with the professional conduct of the airline’s staff and the seamless check in procedures set up at the Entebbe International Airport.
It was all smiles for Uganda Airlines CEO Jennifer Bamuturaki and the Corporate Affairs Manager Shakila Rahim
“Socially, Bamuturaki noted , the Ugandan pilgrims will not be bothered by the stressful experience of going through intermediary points to connect to Mecca. They will now going forward , fly direct from Entebbe to Jedda Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
“They will have a happy flight,I’m sure ” a smiling Bamuturaki stated .
Currently, the airline flies regional routes –Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya, South Sudan capital Juba, Kinshasa in DR Congo, and Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, and Zanzibar in Tanzania. It also flies to Mogadishu, Somalia and Bujumbura in Burundi.
Hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah (Oath to Allah and Muhammad PBUH), Salat (prayer), Zakat (almsgiving) and Sawm (Ramadan fasting). Hajj, the 5th pillar, is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca (Saudi Arabia) that every adult Muslim who is physically and financially able must make at least once in their lifetime.
It is one of the most significant religious journeys for Muslims worldwide, gathering millions of Muslims from all over the World in Mecca and Medina to perform holy rituals and seek spiritual fulfilment.
The return flights will be operated from Medina to Entebbe in July 2023.
About Uganda Airline
Uganda Airlines is Uganda’s flagship national passenger and cargo carrier that started in 2019. It provides scheduled air transportation services in
East Africa and near-international markets. Uganda Airlines was awarded the World’s Youngest Aircraft Fleet Award, given by Ch-Aviation in 2020,
2021 and 2022.
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