MPs Turn Heat on Gov't over Air Uganda Closure

more about geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>The Opposition Chief Whip, Hon. Cecilia Atim Ogwal (FDC, Dokolo district), said the closure had led to increased ticket costs on the Entebbe – Nairobi route. She also said that the closure had led to job losses to Ugandans.

The Civil Aviation Authority in June suspended Air Uganda’s licence over its failure to comply with required safety standards therefore putting passengers’ lives at risk.

Hon. Atim-Ogwal said it was risky to have Ugandan troops use other carriers as they fly to various regional countries for stabilisation duties.

“Uganda is involved in stabilisation efforts in the region. We are engaging other airlines to take very important people, which is very risky,” she said.

Air Uganda on Friday morning officially announced an indefinite closure of its operations pending issuance of fresh operating instructions from the national regulators.


It is also set to return all its aircraft obtained on lease to the owners for as long as it remains out of business, according to company executives.

The Airline company blames its closure on incapacities discovered within the National Regulator, Civil Aviation Authority [CAA], which compelled the International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO] to withdraw the AOCs [(Air Operator Certificates) of] all the airlines registered in Uganda.

In a statement released this morning announcing the closure, Air Uganda noted that the Audit was conducted by International regulator [ICAO] based in Montreal, between June 11 and 17, with the aim of assessing CAA’s capacities.

“It is now apparent that the audit revealed shortcomings in the CAA’s oversight and regulatory capacities, consequently impacting its ability to award air Operators Certificates.”

Air Uganda CEO Mr Cornwell Muleya said as a result, CAA “regrettably opted to withdraw without notifying the affected airlines, Air Operator’s Certificates for all international commercial air operators registered in the country.”

Each carrier, Muleya said, is now being required to submit a fresh application for a new AOC and in the meantime has requested to cease operation.

The company, which is the only scheduled passenger airline affected, Muleya noted, is poised to face massive financial losses of about shs13bn and reputational damage.

MP Atim-Ogwal said the cost of an air ticket from Entebbe to Nairobi had risen from US$380 to US$560 since the closure of Air Uganda, and it continues to go up.

Hon. Matia Nsubuga (DP, Bukoto South), however, said the airline was grounded due to its failure to meet flying standards and that it would only return to air after meeting those requirements.

Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, who said she flew Air Uganda in the region, asked the Minister in charge of Transport to present a Statement to Parliament about the issue as soon as possible.

Muleya said, “Air Uganda continues to assure the public that it did everything under its control in the most difficult of circumstances to minimize the impact on its clientele.

Muleya said Air Uganda has paid over $23.5m in fees and taxes to the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), invested $4m in staff training, contributed $10m in employment taxes and injected over $15m per annum directly into the Ugandan economy.

This implies the closure will cost Air Uganda $52m (Shs13bn).

CAA Speaks out

Meanwhile CAA continues to deny being part of Air Uganda’s woes, noting that it’s in fact the company’s incapacitation as witnessed in numerous mechanical breakdowns that resulted in the cancelation of its certificates.

Media today carried reports that the airline had been grappling with mechanical problems for nearly 12 months before the eventual suspension of its operations.

CAA reportedly started investigating Air Uganda in August 2013 following three incidents involving the airline’s planes.

In an August 22, 2013 internal memo, the principal air traffic management officer/officer in charge of air navigation services (PATMO/O’C ANS Entebbe) at CAA, Madina Ndagire informed the CAA Manager of Flight Safety to investigate reports of three incidents in which planes belonging to Air Uganda had suffered nose wheel steering problems, with two of the incidents happening on one plane.

Air Uganda according to CAA failed on its obligations to report the incidents which was in breach of Regulation 25(1)(t) of the Civil Aviation (Airworthiness) regulations.

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