It seems the revived Uganda Airlines will not take to the skies in July as had been planned. According to Ephraim Bagenda, the company’s chief executive, preparations are not progressing as smoothly as they should.
After receiving the first two planes in April, the airline had about three months to go through the process of getting an air operator’s certificate (AOC) from the national regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, that allows it to carry out commercial air transport operations.
Mr Bagenda says the first two phases of the AOC application process are complete and the airline is “working tirelessly” to beat the deadline. However, other activities and requirements that have to be complete before Uganda Airlines can start commercial operations have not been done, according to the Uganda Radio Network.
These include “branding and uniform design, setting up of commercial offices and distribution network including airline association memberships, final online system design and roll out of booking systems and payment gateways”.
At the moment, if you wanted to take the airline’s first flight, it is not possible to book a ticket. The national flier is also yet to open local offices, although Mr Bagenda says it is something they are working on.
“Time is short but eventually and gradually we shall have everything in place. We’re renting offices, the airlines offices will soon be ready, we’re branding the offices – they will be in Kampala and in Entebbe. Behind the scenes we’re arranging to sell tickets through travel agents,” he told Uganda Radio Network.
The company is still recruiting staff to fill up core positions, and put out job adverts as recently as last month. Among the vacancies advertised were a maintenance engineer, maintenance technician, inflight catering supervisor, and executives in charge of networking, planning and scheduling, and distribution and scheduling.
Uganda Airline’s board was also inaugrated last week. The seven-member board will be chaired by Godfrey Ahabwe, a former member of Parliament and state minister for local government. Other include Benon Kajuna representing the ministry of works and transport and Godfrey Ssemugooma representing the ministry of finance.
The rest of the directors are Catherine Poran and Rehema Mutazindwa from the private sector, Charles Hamya, and Stephen Aziku Zua.
Last month, the airline said it had “secured” seven regional routes. These include Nairobi, Juba, Bujumbura, Dar-es-Salaam, Mombasa, Mogadishu and Kilimanjaro.