Uganda Airlines yet to secure air operator license

The much anticipated resumption of Uganda Airlines’ commercial flights is to delay for at least a month with the regulator, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) yet to issue an air operator certificate (AOC)to the national carrier.

An AOC is s the approval granted by the aviation authority to an aircraft operator allowing it to operate commercial flights. This is after the operator has satisfied the regulator that it has the necessary personnel, assets and systems in place to ensure the safety of its employees and clients.

Works and Transport Minister Monica Ntege Azuba told Parliament that Uganda Airlines has been working towards completing the five-phase certification process required to acquire the Air Operator Certificate.

“This takes approximately 90 days to complete [and it] it informed the initial timeline to start commercial operations to be July 2019. Considerable progress has been made and the airline is currently at phase 4,” said Azuba said.

She said that the targeted date for issuance of the certificate by CAA is July 28 meaning that Uganda Airlines can fly after that date.

“Bookings, reservations, ticketing and accounting systems have been activated in a test environment. Issuance of Air Operating Certificates will trigger activation of codes in a live environment. After getting live mode, its only then that commercial flights will start,” said Azuba.

Azuba also told MPs that since the national carrier is yet to develop the capacity for ground handling services; it had procured the services of one the companies already operating at Entebbe International Airport to offer the service.

The airline’s first planned commercial flights will be to Nairobi, Dar-salaam and Mogadishu at the beginning of August.

“These destinations will be operated first to orient staff and service providers on Uganda Airlines procedures and standards. Immediately after that, other destinations will be added and they include, Kilimanjaro, Juba, Bujumbura and Mombasa,” Azuba said.

Since the arrival of the first two of the four Bombardier CRJ900 jets, Uganda Airlines through its Twitter handle has been announcing a number of destinations some of which Azuba said will wait until the arrival of the remaining two aircrafts expected in September.

The company will later take delivery of two A330-neo aircrafts from Airbus that will be used to operate on the long haul routes to Europe and Asia.