KAMPALA – The NRM vice chairperson for eastern Uganda, Capt Mike Mukula, has announced that he has relocated his aviation training school to Kenya, claiming that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has for the last three years refused to grant him an operational licence.
Capt Mukula, who is a trained pilot, runs Uganda Aviation School, which was accredited by the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) about three years.
However, he says that for the last three years, CAA has refused to grant him an Air Operators Certificate (AOC).
An AOC is an approval granted by the aviation authority to an aircraft operator to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes. This requires the operator to have personnel, assets and system in place to ensure the safety of its employees and the general public.
“I have finally taken a decision to relocate all our aircrafts to Kenya having been frustrated by @UgandaCAA to obtain an AOC. Kenya issued it in one week. This equipment has been on the ground for over three years fully maintained and paying parking fees,” Capt Mukula wrote on his Twitter handle.
In a follow-up telephone interview later on Wednesday morning, he accused CAA of incompetence and corruption.
“These people are corrupt, they lack competent engineers to evaluate us, and they just spend most of the time flying out of the country. Read the ICAO report on CAA Uganda which found them lacking in many areas,” he said.
Capt Mukula confirmed that it took him a month to get all the paperwork for the Kenya AOC licence, and only a week for it to be processed and cleared.
“We will now be taking our students to Kenya because the environment there is better. You ask yourself, why did it take the Kenyans just one week to clear us? They have the same standards (as CAA), they are all regulated by ICAO,” he said.
Capt Mukula also accused CAA of frustrating his plan of building the largest aviation training centre in East Africa.
This, he said, has forced many Ugandan aviation students to move to South Africa and the United States.
He warns that if the red tape is not addressed, it will be a major threat for the Uganda Airlines which is being revamped.
However, Samuel Muneeza, the CAA director for Safety, Security and Economic Regulations, insisted that Mukula’s school has failed to honour set agreements and regulations.
“CAA granted UAS a provisional license in June 2014, advising UAS to go into agreement with the East Africa Civil Aviation Academy (EACAA), but the company failed to provide that agreement and therefore could not utilize the license [to train cabin crew],” Muneeza said.
Mr Vianney Lugya, the CAA public relations manager, also hit back, saying Mukula has never applied for the AOS and that he only applied for an Air Aviation Training Organization Certificate for training cabin crew, whose minimum requirements he failed to meet.
“These are technical aviation licensing requirements. He is saying he got the Air Operator’s Certificate in Kenya in one week which is a naked lie because nowhere in the world do you can get this license in a week,” he said in an interview.