The fallout between the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Air Uganda continues to deepen, as a new account now states that there were deficiencies in the airline’s operations.
Air Uganda indefinitely suspended operations on Thursday last week after being grounded for more than a month. The Aga Khan owned airline was suspended by the CAA on June 17th 2014. It is the reasons for the suspension of three locally registered airlines, Air Uganda, Uganda Air Cargo Corporation and TransAfrik Ltd that are leading to come back and forth in the sector.
Air Uganda, which is bearing the brunt of this suspension, faults the CAA for its woes. In a letter from the authority to the three suspended airlines, CAA admits that an audit carried out by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) found flaws by the regulator.
The letter partly reads that the CAA was “insufficient or lacked industry surveillance” in-order for it to “identify shortcomings.” Furthermore, the audit by ICAO pointed out that aviation regulator and the players were “complacent and lacked commitment” in their operations in Uganda.
As a result of these failings, CAA wrote to the airlines that their Air Operator Certificate (AOC) had been suspended. AOC’s are issued to airlines to carryout commercial transportation.
In a statement released today, CAA has included details that were not in the letter sent to the airlines notifying them that their licenses had been suspended. In the statement, CAA says there were deficiencies in the standards of Air Uganda’s operations.
A statement signed by Dr Rama Makuza, the CAA Managing Director, states that “the airline failed to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the auditors that they were operating in compliance with the established standards.” This reason, according to Air Uganda was not included in the letter suspending their operations. Air Uganda is further faulted for not taking corrective actions to sort out the said issues.
The regulator emphasizes that Air Uganda was putting the lives of passengers at risk and that even before the international audit took place, they had warned the airline. “Safety shall not be compromised,” the statement goes on to read.
This is the first time in over a month that CAA has come-out clearly on the suspension of Air Uganda. Notably though, the statement does not answer the accusations made by Air Uganda that it is CAA that failed the international audit, and is instead heaping the blame on airlines.
Aviation lawyer and expert, Sebina Muwanga however says that the CAA can at any one time revoke or suspend a license in the “public interest.”
As the fallout from this suspension escalates, air fares are on the rise and close to 300 people are now not sure about their jobs.