CAA In Trouble Over Operating Licenses
By Our Reporter
Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) has come under intense pressure from cargo companies for frustrating the aviation industry in Uganda.
It has emerged that CAA with the sole mandate to license, monitor and regulate civil aviation matters has deliberately procrastinated the issuance of Air Operating Certificates (AOCs) to aviation companies. This has forced cargo companies to quit the market in frustration considering the long and winding process that CAA takes to process AOCs.
This comes after a report from International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) castigated CAA for the grounding of Air Uganda and other airlines in the country. On June 17, 2014, CAA, withdrew Air Uganda’s AOCs claiming that the air transport operators had failed to meet the passenger safety and security requirements. Other Uganda’s registered airlines that were affected and have since then remained grounded include; Transafrik and Uganda Air Cargo.
ICAO in its report revealed that CAA revoked Air Uganda’s AOCs to cover up their failures as noted in the June 2014 audit report and that they misused and manipulated the industry reporting requirements which the airline diligently followed as per regulations and in compliance with safety standards.
Investigations have revealed that 14 aviation companies last year in July sat with CAA leadership at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala to create a good working environment in the industry.
“But up to now, out of the 14 companies that sat in that meeting, none of them has got a working license. And all these cargo investors have fled the industry,” a source said.
Apparently, it is only Eagle Air that is still in operational as other airlines have remained grounded after being frustrated by the aviation authority.
During an interview with one of aviation investors, Capt Mike Mukula of Uganda Aviation School (UAS) said that about 20 private investors have in the last 2- 4 years expressed interest in putting up aviation schools in the country as one of the ways to create employment but these have been frustrated by CAA.
He cited his own Uganda Aviation School (UAS) established in 2013, saying despite clearance from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), the CAA have refused to issue Air Operating Certificates that permit it conduct ground and air training for students.
“CAA does not recognize efforts by indigenous investors in the aviation sector which renders the industry redundant to Ugandan nationals and a clear gate way for alternative investment destinations for foreign investors that get frustrated with the bureaucratic barriers created by the authority,” Mukula said.
“We have incurred losses of up $1.5m over the last 30months; paid to CAA to cover such costs and maintenance fees of our 2 aircrafts parked at Entebbe,” Mukula said.
As a result, the aviation industry is crumbling as investors seek foreign market while Ugandan pilots seek foreign jobs.
Capt Francis Babu of Pearl Air in an interview yesterday revealed that his company was forced to close because of the CAA’s inefficiency.
“Unlike Kenya Aviation Authority, CAA is ineffective in developing aviation industry. They are hurting business enterprises because of their rigid policies,” Babu said.
He added, “I am not saying they should nit break their laws, but they should give investors a chance to operate, when we failed to get a licence, we were forced to close.”