The Civil Aviation Authority has said the suspension of Air Uganda’s operation was in order since the air transport operators had allegedly failed to meet the passenger safety and security requirements.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Aviation authority claims that prior to its June 2014 audit by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Air Uganda had shown safety deficiencies in its operations.
“Many incidents were reported on regular basis and CAA had through written warnings, inspections and meetings called for the Airline’s corrective action but in vain. During the audit however, the airline failed to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the auditors that they were operating in compliance with the established standards and terms of approval as had been demonstrated by the Authority. With incidents recorded on a regular basis and manuals and procedures irregularly altered, CAA has no choice but to withdraw the airlines Air Operators Certificate (AOC). The deficiencies were compounded by the results of an inspection of the Airline’s Maintenance Organization (AMO) that was found wanting,” reads the statement in part.
Following the withdraw of the AOC, CAA claims that a technical team of experts was put in place to assist the three operators including Uganda Air Cargo Corporation and TransAfrik Ltd through the re-certification process which is ongoing.
“Plans are also underway to grant rights to other operators to mount flights on routes that have been adversely affected. While the authority appreciates Air Uganda’s Contribution to the growth of the industry and the inconveniences occasioned on the travelling public by the withdrawal of AOC, safety shall not be compromised. The travelling public deserves to be protected and their safety guaranteed at all times,” the statement further sates.
However, the Air Uganda Chief Executive Officer, Cornwell Muleya dismissed the accusations as baseless, adding that the airline has lost millions of dollars as a result of this prolonged period of grounding.
“….Such audits are aimed at assessing the CAA’S capacities rather than the airlines that operate under its supervision. It is now apparent that the audit revealed shortcomings in the CAA’s oversight and regulatory capacities, consequently impacting the CAA’s ability to award AOC. CAA regrettably opted on June 17 to withdraw AOC for all international commercial air operators registered in the country without consulting the airlines affected,” M Muleya said.
A cording to Mr Muleya, Air Uganda which is the only scheduled passenger airline affected has inevitably suffered the greatest damage and added that each carrier was requested to submit a fresh application for an AOC and in the meantime required to cease operations, consequently leading to massive financial losses incurred on a daily basis, besides suffering reputational damage.