British Airways sources in Uganda have claimed that there is no threat to the future of the airline’s thrice weekly service from London. After the airline recently announced that they would be pulling services from Dar Es Salaam at the end of March due to a lack of profitability, there were concerns that the vital link to Uganda would follow suit.
Although the airline’s takeover of bmi in 2012 led to a significant increase in its available slots, the fact that Heathrow (the airline’s main base) is effectively full means that British Airways is more constrained in its potential route development than any other major European airline and accordingly has to ‘sweat’ each slot to the maximum. The airline has also been very bullish in its comments about opportunities in the fast growing Far East market (hence new routes to South Korea & China) which probably hasn’t helped calm the nerves of airport operators and governments in several African countries.
In Tanzania, the Director of Tourism has reportedly held talks with Virgin Atlantic about replacing British Airways although how serious these are it is hard to know at this stage. It wasn’t so long ago that intense competition forced Virgin to withdraw from the London – Nairobi market and whether Tanzania is a suitable replacement is doubtful.