The revamped Uganda Airlines is putting final touches on its preparations to commence commercial flights.
Over a month behind schedule, the national carrier has now completed four out of five steps in the process of acquiring certification.
The airline requires among others the Air Operator License (AOC) from regulators Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Minister of Works and Transport Hon Monica Azuba Ntege told press in Kampala on Tuesday that the process of obtaining the AOC, which was supposed to take about 90days, is expected to end by the close of July.
As such, the airline, that had been projected to commence flights this month (July) is now hoped to do so sometime in late August or early September after certification.
The AOC according to the minister, is expected from CAA on July 28th.
But the airline, she adds, will need another 30 days or so from date of receipt of the AOC “to finalize the testing and setting up of the systems and processes as well as acquiring clearances and operating authorizations from destination countries before embarking on commercial flights.”
“For the Airline to commence commercial flights, the systems and clearances have to be operationalized,” she said.
“Since the AOC is not yet issued, testing of integration platforms as well as completion of set up and training can’t be done at this time until the AOC is issued. The issuance of the AOC triggers the activation of the codes in a “live” environment.”
As part of the certification process, Uganda Airlines announced earlier that it will today Tuesday start demonstrating flight operations to CAA officials.
The airline had announced weeks back, that its inaugural flight will be to Nairobi in neighboring Kenya.
However, with the promised July schedule elapsing, public concerns started emerging recently about the lack of travel arrangements, such as a booking system.
On this, Minister Azuba revealed today that the airline is currently carrying out tests on these systems.
“Already, the booking, reservations, ticketing and accounting systems which allow the public to buy tickets online are ready and have been activated in a “test” environment,” she said.
Meanwhile after issuance of the AOC, Uganda Airlines will have to wait for Foreign Air Operator Permits from the destination countries.
Besides Nairobi, the other planned launch destinations include Dar Es Salaam and Mogadishu and later on Kilimanjaro, Juba and Mombasa.
Other destinations after the delivery of the next two CRJs in September and conclusion of the permissions will be Khartoum, Kinshasa, Kigali, Lubumbashi, Harare, Lusaka, Addis Ababa, Hargeisa, Zanzibar and Johannesburg
So far, the ministry of works together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Azuba says, have written to these destination countries requesting for acceptance of the designation of Uganda Airlines to operate on the various routes
These countries then have to study the Bilateral Air Services Agreements and AOC to assess if Uganda Airlines meets the requirements for operating on various routes.