Uganda Airlines flights
Uganda Airlines to start its first flight in August.

Uganda Airlines to start its first flight in August due to delayed acquisition of Air Certificate (AOC)

Following the delayed acquisition of Air Certificate (AOC), a certificate that permits aeroplane operations for Uganda Airlines, its maiden flight in the business has been extended until end August 2019.

Monica Azuba, Minister for Works and Transport said Uganda Airline was to get its operating licence (AOC) which is issued by Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) by July 29, 2019, but the whole process failed because CAA which is the aviation regulator said they need more time to correct every mistake such that they deliver an outstanding work.

“Also when you get the AOC, it has to be forwarded to the IATA (the International Air Transport Association) to make sure that Uganda Airlines flight codes are added to the system to be visible to the world, but most specifically to countries where we are going to fly first,” Azuba said.

Azuba additionally, said bookings, reservations, ticketing and accounting systems of Uganda Airlines have been initiated as a one of the preparation criteria’s. but she says in a test environment using the IATA provisional codes.

“Once we have the AOC our codes will have to be standardised. We (Ministry of Works and Transport) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also wrote to the countries where we expect to fly first, informing them we intend to fly but without the AOC the licence for commercial flights, you cannot fly in their territories, and they require copy of it,” Azuba said.

IATA is a trade association of the world’s airlines, it’s charged with global commercial standards of all Airlines. It has a membership of 290 airlines globally.

Azuba says the response from other countries is received in a one-month period after they receive your AOC and this is one of the reasons why they have post ponded Air Uganda’s maiden flight.

“It also allows those countries to respond to you within 30 days after receiving your AOU, so that is why we had to give ourselves enough room to start late in August.”

Explaining further, Azuba said Uganda Airlines has five (5) stages to go through before they are given the AOC certificate. These include; formal application for the certificate, document evaluation, demonstration, inspection and operationalisation. But the delay has been so much on the demonstration part because you have to show competence and capability in several things,” Azuba said.

And other additionally processes are acquisition and transport of aircraft spare parts, implementation and testing of airline systems, purchase, supplier contract negotiation for operational services, airport services contracting at all destinations across the network.

Also catering, setting up of commercial offices and distribution network including airline association memberships and establishment of booking systems and payment of gateways, fuel and technical handling business.

The two Bombardier CRJ-900 aeroplanes have a sitting capacity of 76 passengers. It’s expected to fly to regional destinations that include; Juba, Addis Ababa, Accra, Kinshasa, Bujumbura, Kigali Zanzibar and Johannesburg.

These two Bombardier planes were received by Uganda in April 2019, and the country still expects two more planes to be delivered on September 2019.

The two planes were expected to arrive in Uganda this month and next month which became impossible due to some challenges.

Azuba says there was some outstanding balance of money which Uganda Airlines didn’t clear, and this caused the delay because the manufacturing firm, Canada Bombardier Aerospace had addressed Uganda National Airlines confirming the delivery dates.

“As you know we just entered the new financial year, and Treasury is yet to release money for the first quarter, which is expected this week. After clearing the balance, they (Bombardier) are required to deliver the aircraft within 30 days which will be September,” Azuba noted.

Uganda Airlines is also expected to make long journey flights when it receives it’s other two planes in December 2020 and the other in January 2021.

That’s A330-800neos Airbus from French aeronautics manufactures. The government already made a deposit of ($20m) that’s 74 billion shillings regarding the purchase of these planes.

The expected destinations include London, New Delhi, Dubai, Tel Aviv, Bankok and Guangzhou.

Uganda Airlines expects to make its first route to Kigali but the ongoing standoff between Rwanda and Uganda makes it uncertain

However, Azuba says discussions are proceeding between the two countries and other countries where Uganda Airlines is destined to go, to ensure that every problem is solved.

And other maiden flights will be to Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Mogadishu.