Govt should cater for training of young pilots – UPPA

Saturday October 03 2020

L-R.General Secretary ATGWU, CEO Uganda Airlines Mr Cornwell Muleya with President UPPA Mr Charles Karabarinde during the association's general assembly at Protea hotel in Entebbe. Photo | Eve Muganga

By Eve Muganga

The Uganda Professional Pilots’ Association (UPPA) has asked the government to give more funds to aviation schools.

In his remarks during the pilot general assembly which took place on Friday at Protea Hotel in Entebbe under the theme; ‘consolidating our achievements and moving forward together’, UPPA president Mr Charles Karabarinde said very few people can afford to cater for training costs to be pilots.

“It’s really very expensive and a few people can afford it. Therefore, my appeal to the government is to come up and sponsor pilots because we have few scholarships from the government, let more funds be added in these schools because the aviation industry is expanding and it needs more pilots and those who were sponsored by the government during our years are now retiring. We need the new generation to join the aviation industry,’’ he said.

Mr Karabarinde added: “There’s a shortage of pilots and ground engineers to maintain and service planes. We have more than 300 pilots in Uganda but the association is endowed with 101 energetic, enthusiastic, and self-driven members consisting of 24 Aeronautics engineers and 77 pilots which are still not enough.”

He noted said that it’s UPPA’s mission to promote and safeguard the interests of Uganda pilots and engineers in particular through collective bargaining and consensus for the purpose recruitment and employment, mutual relationships with authorities, unity, solidarity, safety, and a voice among the many whilst upholding international civil aviation standards and recommended practices in Uganda and beyond.

According to the Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Airlines Mr Cornwell Muleya, UPPA is very relevant because all Uganda airline pilots and engineers are under this association.

“In Uganda airlines, we have 24 pilots and we are adding 22 others soon to fly the A330. Engineers are 14 who are undergoing various types of training and we are looking forward to recruiting more, therefore, I emphasize all of them to join the association,” he said.

Mr Muleya said that as Airline, they go through a number of challenges. “We are now restarting for the second time to go back into the routes and structure we used to have before the pandemic, we aren’t sure how the markets will respond, some markets are still closed across Africa and the world so the people that we used to work within the various airports some of them have difficulties in terms of financing so we are looking at all the support relationship,” he said.

The Ag Director-General Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Fred Bamwesigye, said that their role is to ensure that piloting licensing or certification is done only on the condition that the holder has met a specific set of knowledge and experience.

“UCAA has been at the helm of licensing pilots by providing all the required regulatory support to enable more skilled aviators to find employment in different operations and we shall continue to render all possible assistance to ensure fresh pilots receive their operating licenses in a timely manner,” he noted.