More details have emerged as regards to Uganda Airlines delay in commencing commercial flights after securing the aircrafts earlier this year.
Government in May said the two new CRJ900 Bombardier planes secured for the airline business will commercially start flying in July 2019 after the company finishes all the certification needed to operate the new airline.
Cornwell Muleya, the Technical Adviser while speaking to the media at the Uganda Airlines offices in Entebbe said for the next 90 days, since its launch, the Airline has been working with Civil Aviation Authority and other aviation authorities in countries where it intends to fly, to finalise certification agreements to allow the planes start commercial flights in the set time
ChimpReports has learned that to-date, the structural and system arrangements are being set up.
According to Works Minister Monica Azuba, personnel for key post holders were recruited and offices for Uganda Airlines acquired.
The process involved hiring skilled employees, contracting service providers, singling out flight routes among others
Two CRJ 900 aircraft for regional flights were procured and delivered to Uganda on April 23, 2019.
An additional two CRJ 900 aircraft are expected to be delivered in September 2019.
Two more aircraft (A330 neo) for long haul flights will be delivered by the close of 2020, according to Azuba.
It’s is understood that following the delivery of the first two CRJ 900 aircraft, the airline has been working to complete the five phase certification process required to obtain the Air Operator Certificate (AOC).
The five phases for AOC take approximately 90 days to complete.
This informed the initial timeline to start commercial operations in July 2019.
Azuba says considerable progress has been made on the certification process and currently the airline is at Phase 4, leaving only one more phase to be completed before the AOC can be issued.
A high ranking official told ChimpReports on Saturday that the targeted date for the issuance of the AOC to the Airline is July 28, 2019.
This means that Uganda Airlines can fly after this date.
However, for the airline to undertake commercial flights, a number of systems and clearances have to be tested and operationalised.
The process of embarking on the requisite tests and clearances can only be done upon acquisition of the AOC.
This will then trigger the finalization of the setting up of the various systems and processes as well as acquiring clearances/ operating authorisations from destination countries before embarking on commercial flights.
These, among others, include activation of the booking, reservations, ticketing and accounting systems of Uganda Airlines.
An investigation by ChimpReports indicates that these systems have currently been set up using provisional IATA designator and IATA accounting codes and are under a test environment.
“Since the AOC is not yet issued, testing of integration platforms as well as completion of set up and training cannot be done at this time until after the AOC has been presented to allow for the codes to be activated in a “live” environment,” said an official at Uganda Airlines who preferred anonymity to speak freely.
Secondly, government is still seeking permission to fly to other countries as required by civil aviation and airport authorities.
Before the operating authorisations can be granted by the destination countries, these countries have to study the Bilateral Air Services Agreements and the AOC to assess whether Uganda Airlines meets the requirements for operating on the various routes.
The Ministries of Works and Transport, and Foreign Affairs in conjunction with the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority are said to be handling this matter.
The destination countries are allowed up to 30 days to accept the designation of Uganda Airlines on the various routes.
The Airline is being revived at a time the whole of Africa is integrating.
There are no major restrictions on Visas and access to markets.
Muleya said this means the Airline will be able to fly to almost all African cities.
“We are also counting on the local traffic which is around 1.6 to 2 million people per year with a growth of 11% annually. In 10 years, this traffic is expected to double so the local market is enough to sustain the Airline,” said Muleya.
Azuba told Parliament view there will be a delay and Uganda Airlines will launch commercial operations in August 2019.