Uganda’s Civil Aviation industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past year, a positive development as well for the growth of the country’s tourism sector.
For example, between January and August 2018, Entebbe Airport handled 120,000 more passengers than those handled in the same period in 2017. In addition, Emirates, introduced the wider-body 360-seater Boeing 777 aircraft for its Entebbe-Dubai route to cater for the rise in passengers.
In commemoration of the International Civil Aviation Week, CAA’s Managing Director David Mpango Kakuba, told The Sunrise in an exclusive Q&A that the aviation regulator was awarded the ISO 9001:2015 Management Systems certification by the respected United Kingdom (UK) Accreditation Standards body (UKAS).
Below are excerpts of the dialogue;
Qn. Kindly update us on the status of the ongoing expansion works for Entebbe International Airport.
Ans: Entebbe International Airport (EIA) is currently undertaking infrastructural upgrade and expansion of a number of facilities. The ongoing activities are included in the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) 20-year master plan, 2014 to 2033.
In a bid to meet the increasing airport passenger and cargo growth, CAA has and is implementing a number of projects. These include a new Cargo centre, which will accommodate 100,000 tonnes from the current 60,000 tonnes.
Expansion works for Aircraft Parking Apron at new Cargo centre are at 84% level of completion, works on Aircraft Parking Apron 1 are at 60%, work on the Taxiways is at 88% whereas strengthening and rehabilitation of Runway 12/30 is at 65%.
The Landside and Airside access roads to facilitate movement to the new Cargo Centre were completed. The works are by the China Communications, Construction Company (CCCC) Ltd.
Works for modification and expansion of the passenger terminal building are also ongoing and are being undertaken by the Seyani Brothers (U) Ltd.
The completed projects include; the expansion of the long term car parking, which created an additional parking capacity of 140 slots from 260 to 410 parking slots.
The Air Traffic services management system and Air Traffic Control radar were upgraded and this led to migration from use of manual to automated electronic strips. It has also extended the ATC radar’s serviceability lifespan by another ten years.
The Aeronautical Information Management Systems at Entebbe International Airport were also enhanced. This has increased efficiency through saving time, reduction in costs incurred by air operators and ability for pilots to file flight plans from anywhere using any web-enabled device.
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has facilitated the air navigation services and automation at Entebbe Airport by providing a grant of $9.5 million to the Government of Uganda from the Government of South Korea. The project involves Implementation of Air Traffic Services (ATS) Message Handling System, a computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and Airport Operational Database (AODB) system.
The KOICA project will also improve on air traffic management and efficiency of flight procedures.
A new Terminal Operations Control Centre to help coordinate operations has already been put in place at Entebbe International Airport and a training facility fully equipped at the CAA head office.
Uganda contributed $250,000 per year towards implementation of the project that commenced in March 2016.
Qn CAA Uganda recently held a public hearing on applications by airline companies. What are the outcomes of the review. How many airlines passed the test.
Ans: It is a regulatory requirement that any air operator intending to commence commercial operations (domestic or international) has to apply to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), for an operating license known as an Air Services License (ASL).
A public hearing was held on 23rd August, 2018 at imperial Royale Hotel to vet new airlines and to prove their capacity that they are able to run an airline and also defend their application for licences.
The applications were received by CAA, evaluated and considered by the CAA Board Air Services Licensing Committee. Most of the applicants were able to clarify on issues to do with their business plan, proposed air routes, and equipment to be used.
As a result, Air Services Licenses were granted to Uganda Airlines, Kush Air Uganda, Africana International Air Services and Ugawings Aviation. ASL applications for Kampala Aero Club and Flight Training Centre and Kampala Executive Aviation were renewed.
Qn. Besides developments at Entebbe International Airport, what other new developments in Uganda’s Civil Aviation are worth noting over the past 12 months.
Ans: Air traffic is growing steadily. While Air Tanzania recently resumed operations in and out of Entebbe, three new bilateral Air Service Agreements were signed with Canada, Israel and Switzerland. As a result, EL AR Israel Airline plans to commence operations in February 2019. Discussions are also ongoing with Goldjet Airlines to commence flights to London via Accra.
CAA was also recently awarded with the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems certification standard by the United Kingdom Accreditation Standards (UKAS) joining Kenya and Tanzania as the only countries in Africa to attain such certification so far.
We are also seeking amendments to the CAA Act to enhance safety and efficiency. The proposed amendments are aimed at ensuring harmonization of Uganda’s regulations and practices with the universal practice across the globe.
The current Act has been in place since 1991. While it has ably guided the industry, a number of practices have since changed. One of the proposed changes include change of company name from Civil Aviation Authority to Uganda Civil Aviation Authority to create differentiation from other CAA’s in the World.
One of the other key amendments seeks is to provide for establishment of an aircraft accident investigation unit separate from CAA to handle such emergencies in the event that they occur.
The amendments also seek to further empower and provide unrestricted access to CAA inspectors and provide for on-spot penalties, among others, to enhance safety and efficiency in service provision.
Most of the amendments arose from observations made by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) auditors in recent audits on Uganda to which we have already submitted Corrective Action Plans to cover the gaps. The audits are a means of ensuring compliance with ICAO standards.
A Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP) – Continuous Monitoring Approach was conducted on Uganda by ICAO in June 2017. Uganda’s effective implementation assessment registered a score of 81.8%, well above the global average of 72%.