Uganda Airlines revises launch date to June
January 13, 2018 – Uganda has moved the start date for its airline back by two months, after major deadlines were missed by the project. Launch is now scheduled for June 2019, instead of April.
However handover of the first aircraft a Bombardier CRJ-900, has not been impacted and is still expected to take place on February 23.
The schedule slip is being blamed on delays in closing hiring of key post holders. Interviews were concluded in September and tentative offers made but getting security clearance for the team has been protracted.
As a result, the airline is yet to secure an Air Operators Certificate, which is contingent upon having substantive post holders in the accounting, operations, and maintenance, quality control and marketing roles. Cockpit crew have also not yet gone through training mandated by the manufacturer.
This has impacted aircraft delivery and a revised delivery matrix is now looking at aircraft handovers in February, March, July and September.
The delays have caused tension and in a recent letter to the airline project team, the Civil Aviation Authority distanced itself from being held accountable for the missed milestones.
Overall, the project is three months behind schedule. Despite getting an offer from Afrexim Bank, finance for the acquisitions has also not been concluded as the Ministry of Finance evaluated cheaper sources.
Some pilots will now be trained at facilities in the US and France after slots in Montreal were missed.
Uganda Airlines plans to operate a network of 19 routes during the first two years which will then create the feed for the long haul network expected to launch in early 2019.
Parallel procurement of a pair of A330-800’s that have been selected for the purpose is proceeding more smoothly with the parties last month converting purchase MoU signed in June into a firm commitment.