Uganda Airlines puts off Nairobi flights by a month


Uganda Airlines bombardier CRJ-900. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Uganda Airlines has pushed plans to commence maiden Nairobi flight from July 31 to end of August, after failing to acquire necessary certification on time.

In an interview with the Daily Monitor Monday, Uganda’s Works and Transport minister Monica Azuba said the launch has been put off to next month as the airline has not acquired the Air Operator Certification (AOC).

An AOC, issued by a national regulator, is the approval certificate granted to an airline to allow it to use planes for commercial purposes.

“We expected to acquire the AOC by July 29 from the aviation regulator, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) but they decided to take more time to tie all the loose ends,” said Ms Azuba.

Ms Azuba further indicated that as part of the ongoing preparations, reservation, bookings , ticketing and accounting systems of Uganda Airlines have been activated “but in a test environment using the IATA provisional codes”.

The IATA is the trade association of the world’s airlines, with membership of 290 airlines. The body is charged with global commercial standards for the air transport industry.

“We (Ministry of Works) 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 a copy of it,” she said.

However, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority director-general Gilbert Kibe, yesterday told Shipping and Logistics they are yet to receive any request from Uganda Airlines.

“When they are ready, they will launch Entebbe-Nairobi route. As at now, we have not seen any request from Uganda Airlines. Maybe they have done it through the Ministry of Transport who is then supposed to inform us,” said Mr Kibe.

Uganda Airlines acquired two Bombardier CRJ900 jets in April in preparation to ply regional routes before expanding to Europe and other destinations.

The airline will be flying the Bombardier CRJ-900 aircrafts, with sitting capacity of 76 passengers to regional destinations such as Johannesburg, Kigali and Addis Ababa. Others are Juba, Zanzibar, Bujumbura, Accra and Kinshasa.

The national carrier is expected to commence its maiden flights to three destinations — Nairobi, Dar-es Salaam and Mogadishu.