KAMPALA —Eight air transport service providers have on Friday, May 20 defended before the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority Board Air Services Licensing Committee, their applications for new licenses and renewal for those that had expired.
At least four out of the eight air transport service providers companies have applied to start air services in Uganda while the other four whose licenses are due to expire are seeking to renew their permits.
“Today, we have eight (08) applications (04 renewal and 04 new) being presented to the Board Licensing Committee for consideration. In compliance with the Civil Aviation (Licensing of Air Services) Regulations 2001, the applications were advertised in the print media and invited to publicly in respect of their applications,” said Mr Thomas Kiggundu, the chairman board of the licensing committee.
He added: “Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), under Section 6 (2) of the CAA Act Cap. 354 is responsible for the licensing of air transport services. In addition, the Authority advises the government of the Republic of Uganda on matters related to the development of air services such as Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) and other air transport activities”.
The UCAA Board Air Services Licensing Committee presided over UCAA Board Chairman Justice Steven Kavuma
during a public hearing held at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala heard from eight operators including Uganda Air Cargo Cooperation which co-ordinates air transport systems in the country.
UACC is 100% owned by the Government of Uganda and under the supervision of the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs. It was established to offer Air Cargo transport services and Air Passenger Charter services.
Established in 1994, UACC operates scheduled and charter cargo services from its main base at Entebbe International Airport to destinations in East and Central Africa.
The Corporation has continued to operate amidst a wide array of challenges. Between 2009 and 2013, the Corporation recorded outstanding performance in which period it expanded the fleet from one aircraft to four, two C130 and two Y12.
Defending the application, Lt. Gen. Lakara Nakibus, the Uganda Air Cargo boss said the airline seeks to provide local passenger domestic flights, a development he reasoned will boost tourism in the country.
Others are operators who applied for renewal of their licenses include Samaritan’s Purse International Relief (non-scheduled Passenger and Cargo flight) Entebbe Airways (non-scheduled
Passenger Charter) and
KAFTC dba BAR Aviation (scheduled and on-scheduled International Passenger flights).
Safari Air International (AAA) is a new air service operator which seeks to start operations for scheduled and non-scheduled Domestic, Passenger and Cargo.
Both Panafric Aviation Limited and Aberdair Aviation Uganda Limited want licenses to conduct Non-Scheduled Passenger flights while DOTT Services Limited wants permission to conduct private non-scheduled flights.
Justice Kavuma said the public hearingis an international practice, meant for transparency purposes in the airline industry in line with ICAO regulations.
“It is a regulatory requirement that any air operator intending to commence commercial operations (domestic or international) has to apply to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), for an operating license known as an Air Services License (ASL)”.
He noted that this is a prerequisite for engagement in air operations and has not been uniquely applied to Uganda Airlines, but to all new applicants for the provision of air services or those seeking renewal of licenses.
All the applicants clarified on issues to do with their business plan, proposed air routes, and equipment to be used, among others.
For transparency purposes, ASL regulations require that a notice of all the applicants to be considered (new or renewal), is placed in the print media 30 days prior to the date of consideration of the applications by the Board Air Services Licensing Committee meeting.
Justice Kavuma explained that the process provides the public an opportunity to provide any relevant information to the licensing committee and that “it is not a new practice, but one that has been exercised since UCAA assumed the responsibility of regulating air transport services in Uganda.”
“It is a global practice that is not unique to Uganda. It ought to be noted that this mandatory process is only an enabler or facilitating the process for an airline to be permitted to fly from within and out of the country. It is independent of other individual airline’s plans such as the purchase of aircraft. It is a routine regulatory activity,” he said.
Currently, there are 24 Ugandan licensed air operators conducting operations in the following air services licence categories; scheduled passenger and/or cargo, non-scheduled passenger and/or cargo, Private, Training and Aerial Works.
As to regards to scheduled international air services, Uganda Airlines, a Ugandan licenced operator, commenced scheduled air services operations to Johannesburg and Dubai.
The Airline intends to commence scheduled operations to Lusaka, Goma, Lubumbashi, Mumbai, Guangzhou, and London.
Mr Kiggundu, the chairman board of the licensing committee said the number of airlines operating international scheduled services to and from Entebbe International Airport, in accordance with the provisions of the fifty-one (51) Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASAS) in place, increased from thirteen (13) to seventeen (17) Airlines.