Mukula Kicks Up Dust as CAA Denies Him Air Transport License

Mike Mukula addressing the media in Kampala on Tuesday (Photo: Kenneth Kazibwe/ChimpReports)

Ugandan pilot Capt Mike Mukula has revealed the national airline will never be revived under the current sluggish management running the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Addressing journalists in Kampala on Tuesday afternoon, doctor Capt Mukula said efforts by government to see that the defunct Uganda Airlines is given a new life are a waste of time.

He cited the incompetent managers of the country’s Civil Aviation whom he said have led to collapse of a number of private airlines.

“The last inspection exercise by the International Civil Aviation Organization showed that Uganda is below average and this led to the cancelation and withdrawal of the International  Air Operator Certificates from all registered airlines from Uganda, visit ” said Mukula.

He said cancelation of the certificates affected airline companies like Air Uganda owned by  Aga Khan, cialis 40mg Uganda Air Cargo, Pearl Air (Capt. Francis Babu) and other companies that had started operating in Uganda.

“CAA does not recognize efforts by indigenous investors in the aviation sector which renders the industry redundant to Ugandan nationals and the foreign investors that get frustrated with the bureaucratic barriers created by the authority,” Mukula blasted the aviation.

“Aga Khan lost over 100 million dollars when his Air Uganda stopped business but all this can be blamed on Civil Aviation Authority whose bureaucracy made it difficult for the country to meet the required international standards in terms of aviation,” he revealed.

The aviation management has previously been accused of corruption and failure to innovate new ways of running a modern airport.

CAA in a recent statement said it was so cautious in dishing our operator licenses for safety reasons.

The aviation body usually requires a business plan from applicants that covers the first two years of operation in order to demonstrate that it is able to handle its actual and potential obligations for a period of 24 months from the start of the operations, and its fixed and operational costs for a period of six months without taking into account earnings from its operations.

ChimpReports understands CAA also needs evidence of ownership of the aircraft or a long term aircraft lease agreement and that the Aircraft must be under full control of the applicant and fulfill the flight safety standards of Uganda.

Some of the documents required include a copy of the aircraft Certificate of Airworthiness,  Certificate of Registration, copies of Insurance Certificates (Hull, Third Party, Passenger and Cargo Liability); evidence of the applicant’s financial capacity to finance the proposed air transport services and meet CAA financial obligations.

Once all the required information has been obtained, the operator may be invited to appear before the Air Services Licensing Committee of the Board of Directors of CAA to present his investment plan.

Officials say for purposes of transparency this interaction with the Board is done publicly and members of the public are free to comment, ask questions or participate in any other way they wish.

“The applicant is issued with an Air Service Licence subject to the fulfillment of the requirements stated,” reads part of CAA guidelines for operating cargo and passenger airlines.

Before air services are finally mounted, the successful applicant must in addition to an Air Service Licence be granted an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) in accordance with the Civil Aviation (Air Operator Certification and Administration) Regulations 2006.

Aviation Schools

But Mukula said that the red tapes by the CAA have made it difficult for Uganda to have a number of private aviation schools in addition to the government aided Soroti Flying School in Eastern Uganda which he said partly accounts for the poor aviation standards in the country.

According to him, 14 private  investors  have in the last 2- 4 years  expressed  interest in  putting up aviation schools in the country as one of the ways to create employment  but these have been frustrated by  CAA.

He cited his own Uganda Aviation School established in 2013, saying despite clearance from the National Council for Higher Education, the CAA have refused to issue Air Operating Certificates that permit it conduct ground and air training for students.

“If the president is talking of creating employment for the youths, then this is some of what he needs to look into. The aviation schools can be another avenue for equipping youths with skills and also providing employment opportunities for many others.”

“Kenya has on the other hand utilized this opportunity and they have a number of aviation schools which are training many pilots throughout Africa and the world. For Uganda, the bureaucracy at CAA has made this impossible,” he said.

According to two National Council for Higher Education letters dated December 10, 2013 and June 17, 2015 which this website has seen and addressed to the Managing Director Civil Aviation Authority, the latter body has refused to reply the letters in which they are asked to provide a provision license to the Uganda Aviation School.

“We note that all our correspondences on the matter above have gone without response from CAA. In view of the slow progress so far noted, we hope that our two institutions can now chart a way forward for accreditation of the school,” reads part of the letter  by the National Council for Higher Education Executive Director  Prof. John Opuda-Asibo to his counterpart in CAA.

Private Aircrafts

Mukula also said efforts by private investors to bring in new aircrafts in the country have been frustrated by the CAA, citing his 2 Cessna 172 planes he brought from the US but have been grounded at Entebbe for over two years without clearance.

According to Mukula, the planes were meant to be used by his aviation school for training but have since been grounded and led him to lose over one million dollars in parking and maintenance fees at the Airport.

“Another private investor brought in aircrafts but have since been grounded at   the Kimaka airstrip in Jinja for over three years because CAA failed to approve them. If countries like South Sudan, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda have private aircrafts, why not in Uganda?”

He said CAA’s failure to clear private aircrafts, many graduates of Soroti Flying School who are educated using taxpayers’ money end up working in other countries other than Uganda, blaming all this mess on the CAA.

“We should not be lamenting that countries like Rwanda have Dreamliner planes but blame ourselves for keeping quiet as one group of people is doing us a disservice. The board at CAA is incompetent and needs an overhaul if the country is to get a national airline again.”

He said Uganda can’t compete with countries like Ethiopia (Ethiopian airlines), Kenya (Kenya airways) and Rwanda (Rwandair) who can directly export their products to the international market other than waiting for planes from other countries to help them with the service.

“It needs a plane from South Africa to come to Entebbe and transport our flowers. How can we compare with Ethiopia who directly take theirs to the world market? It is one reason why the market for our flowers is going down in Europe. There is need to work on these simple issues like bureaucracy in the CAA if we are to compete with other countries,” he warned.

Mukula however said he is set to petition the Speaker of Parliament and president to see how to deal with the bureaucracy issues at the CAA.

“I can assure you, Uganda can’t have the national airline back in the five years if the management at CAA who get a lot of money but do nothing is not overhauled. Many investors lost money and kept quiet but I can’t keep quiet because this is my profession,” he warned.


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