UCAA under continued fire for AOC suspensions


(Posted 06th July 2014)

The preliminary conclusion of the parliamentary committee, which had summoned official of the disgraced Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, that the regulators had misled the public and used the withdrawal of the Air Operator Certificates of three affected airlines as a smokescreen to cover up their own audit failures – something suggested here from the first moment the news broke, is a damning indictment of the modus operandum of the UCAA. ‘We expect heads to roll when all this over’ said one source close to the proceedings of the parliamentary committee before adding ‘… they have a case to answer and we would not be surprised if they are not sued for big compensation because this could have been done differently. They had other options but they chose to hang out our airlines to dry and that will cost the authority and those involved dearly’.

It is also understood that a team of three experts, two from Kenya and one seconded by CASSOA, the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Agency of the East African Community, have begun to review the decisions taken by the UCAA and details, though understandably sketchy, suggest they have disagreed with the UCAA suspension of the AOC’s but are nevertheless now completing a full review, during which Air Uganda and two cargo airlines will remain grounded.

According to a source close to Air Uganda have all relevant documents been submitted to receive their AOC back and resume operations, the absence of which has led to the near doubling of some airfares to the destinations which U7 is normally serving, such as Juba, Mogadishu, Bujumbura, Kigali, Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam. A Nairobi based aviation source, close to the IATA regional office, also confirmed on condition of anonymity that the IOSA certificate given to Air Uganda last year and valid until 2015, will remain in place as ‘there is no substantive information based on which a review would be taken at this stage. They passed their audit and will undergo another one next year for renewal of their IOSA certification. This is the best method to establish safe operations by any airline and the world has full confidence in the process IATA employs when auditing member airlines’.

Broad opinion is that this is a low point in the existence of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, which has already a number of dark spots on their reputation from past actions and the aviation industry will waste no tears should, as is expected, heads roll. Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from across the region.

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