29 June 2014

Uganda: Entebbe Audit Sets Off Airline Backlash

Photo: Entebbe airport
Entebbe International airport.

Kampala — Uganda's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has denied they failed the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit that led to suspending licenses of three air transport operators.

The CAA recently withdrew Air Operator Certificates for international operations of Air Uganda, Uganda Air Cargo and Transafrik Uganda Limited.

This was soon after a review of CAA systems, structures and operations, conducted by the ICAO.

Vianney Luggya the CAA Public Affairs Officer said, "It is absolutely incorrect. First it must be pointed out that the ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) was not necessarily focused on CAA but on Uganda as a State (covering the aviation regulator and the industry players including Air Uganda among others).

"The ICVM's visit of 11-18 June 2014 was a mandatory follow up on effective implementation of areas indicated in the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) undertaken by ICAO on Uganda in 2008.

"Indeed the ICVM team's preliminary results indicated an overall 10% improvement in performance from their previous visit. There was therefore improvement and no "failure of the Audit" on the part of CAA as alleged.

Luggya added, "The affected industry players (including Air Uganda) whose Air Operator Certificates were withdrawn were found to be deficient in compliance with certain internationally stipulated provisions whose details I would rather not delve into.

"The prudent thing to do now is for the affected players to get back to the drawing board and fully address the safety issues that have been pointed out to them in order to seek recertification under the existing regulatory framework," Luggya said in a statement.

Luggya's response came a few days after Rod Murphy the Air Uganda Country Representative for South Africa said they suspended their flights due to an ongoing audit by ICAO on the CAA.

Murphy said, "There is no problem with Air Uganda. Air Uganda is IATA Operational Safety Audited. The problem is the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority. They failed the International Civil Aviation Organisation audit. In a knee-jerk reaction the CAA suspended the licences of all airlines, which was totally unnecessary. The same happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last month."

"For the time being, agents can either apply for ticket refunds or rebook passengers on alternative airlines," he said.

However, Cornwell Muleya, the Air Uganda Chief Executive Officer wrote to their customers pledging to resolve the matter in the shortest time possible.

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