UGANDA AIRLINES BOARD ON THIN ICE AS PRESIDENT MUSEVENI DEMANDS IMMEDIATE ACTION
(Posted 15th January 2019)
With the launch of Uganda Airlines once again delayed, this time to closer to mid year, has this caught the attention of the President who expressed his displeasure with the board of the airline while demanding immediate action.
It is understood that not only the delivery of the first and subsequent aircraft has been delayed but also recruitment and training of pilots and other key personnel, seeing booked slots for type conversion by pilots taken up by others and leaving pilots recruited, or still to be recruited, by Uganda Airlines having to wait for available simulator time.
Both board members and managers so far recruited have not exactly shown the level of urgency vis a vis their projected timelines as was apparently expected by the President and is no doubt a symptom to watch out for when the new airline eventually takes to the skies.
Notably has Airbus also not listed the two A330-800Neo’s on their sold list as of end of 2018, suggesting that the timeframe to conclude that transaction – Uganda had reportedly paid a very significant deposit when signing the MoU – is also already overdrawn.
While the airline has an air service licence has no air operator certificate been issued at this stage due to the airline’s failure to tick all the relevant boxes. It is the AOC which is the actual operating licence and it is presently anyone’s guess when this can be attained, given the apparent squabbles between board and managers at this stage.
Meanwhile have the commercial rivals of upstart Uganda Airlines not been sitting on their hands after Air Tanzania took delivery of their second Airbus A220-300 and are planning to exchange their almost derelict Q300 for another brand new Viking (formerly Bombardier) Q400. A second Boeing B787 is also scheduled for delivery some time in 2020.
RwandAir too has tied up their Airbus A330-900Neo orders and also has additional Boeing B737’s lined up with some sources even suggesting that an Airbus A321LRNeo could be joining the fleet to operate the airline’s flights to Europe during the off season periods.
Hence is President Museveni’s growing anger and urgency understandable, given that he told his cabinet way back in June 2016 that he wanted a new national airline but having to rely on snail pacers with a growing clash of ego’s
to implement his directive has so far thrown spanners into the works.