The government of Uganda in 2016 promised to revive Uganda Airlines. Following the announcement, structural and system arrangements (key post holders) were set up.
Early this year, four Bombadier CRJ 900 aircrafts for regional flights were procured and on April 23, two of them landed in Uganda.
During President Museveni’s State of Nation Address, an additional two CRJ 900 aircrafts shall be delivered in September 2019. While the two more aircrafts (A330 neo) for long haul flights will be delivered by the close of 2020.
Following the delivery of the first two CRJ 900 aircraft, the Minister of Transport and Works, Monica Azuba Ntege informed the public that the airline will commence flight in July 2019.
Then, she said that would take 90 days for the company to finalise all the necessary processes of obtaining the Air Operating Certificate (AOC).
“We need to complete five phases to obtain the AOC and this will be finished early July, that means our national airlines will be making its first flight on 31 July,” said Azuba in April this year.
On Tuesday, Azuba told journalists that a considerable progress has been made on the certification process and currently the airline is at Phase Four, leaving only one more phase to be completed before the AOC can be issued.
“The targeted date for the issuance of the AOC to the Airline is July 28 2019. This means that our Airlines can fly after this date. Already, the booking, reservations, ticketing and accounting systems of Uganda Airlines which allow the public to buy tickets online are ready and have been activated in a ‘test’ environment,” she said adding that systems have been set up using provisional International Air Transport Association (IATA) designator and IATA accounting codes. The issuance of the AOC will trigger the activation of the codes in a “live” environment.
However, Azuba confirmed that after receiving AOC, the airline will need about 30 days from the date of receipt of the AOC to finalise the testing and setting up of the systems and processes as well as acquiring clearances/ operating authorisations from destination countries before embarking on commercial flights.
Here are some reason why the flights might start in September
1. Activating the Airline Designator and Accounting Codes:
This involves the activation of the booking, reservations, ticketing and accounting systems of Uganda Airlines.
“These systems have currently been set up using provisional IATA designator and IATA accounting codes and are under a test environment. Since the AOC is not yet issued, testing of integration platforms, as well as completion of set up and training, cannot be done at this time until after the AOC has been presented. The issuance of the AOC will trigger the activation of the codes in a “live” environment,” she noted.
2. Designation of Uganda Airlines and applying for Foreign Air Operator Permits.
Azuba said that the Ministry of Works and Transport in conjunction with Ministry of Foreign Affairs have written to the destination countries requesting for acceptance of the designation of Uganda Airlines to operate on the various routes.
The airline needs permission to fly to other countries as required by civil aviation and airport authorities. Before the operating authorisations can be granted by the destination countries, they need to study the Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) and the AOC to assess whether Uganda Airlines meets the requirements for operating on the various routes eg offices, staff, maintenance, catering and the safety issues.
“It should be noted that the BASAs allow the destination countries up to 30 days to accept the designation of Uganda Airlines on the various routes. It is therefore prudent to factor in the 30 days when setting the date for launching commercial operations,” said Azuba
3. Training of some key staff including Flight Attendants is still going on.
The training programme will be completed by end of July 2019. However, on completion, some staff will have to apply for Licenses from UCAA which may take some days.
4. Uganda Airlines will fly to all points in East Africa and right now is in the process of obtaining permissions to fly to all these destinations in line with Civil Aviation regulations which might also need some days to be finalised.
The launch routes will be Nairobi, Dar Es Salam and Mogadishu, other routes will come in when it starts operating.
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