President Museveni has promised to pile pressure on Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Uganda Airlinesto expedite the process of commencing direct flights to Britain.
“I will push the two entities to have the paper work done soon so that Uganda can start direct flights to UK,” said Museveni on Friday.
He was responding to Britain’s frustration over the Ugandan authorities’ delay to speed up plans to have Uganda Airlines take early morning slots at Heathrow Airport.
Museveni was meeting British High Commissioner to Uganda, H.E Kate Airey, President Museveni and Lord Popat at State Lodge Nakasero.
The meeting focused on issues of mutual interests between Uganda and the United Kingdom in various sectors including Health, Investment, Energy, Transport and Agriculture.
Lord Popat is a Conservative Peer at the House of Lords and has been the UK Trade Envoy for Uganda and Rwanda since 2016.
Museveni said the delay was caused by the lazy public service they inherited.
“During Amin’s time, we found the public service broken down. These people are totally parasites. They are just waiting for salary. What has helped Uganda to recover has been the Army and Private sector in spite of the obstacles caused by public service. They have helped the economy recover, ” the President said.
“The airline people are well paid. Why can’t they finish the issue of direct flights? They are the enemy of the country.”
Uganda Airlines secured slots for departures and landing at London Heathrow Airport after receiving its two Airbus A330-800 Neo aircrafts in December 2020 and February 2021.
The airline had earlier submitted an application for an Air Operator’s Certificate to operate in the UK and expected to commence the flights in January 2021. However, this had not been issued.
Jenifer Bamuturaki, the Acting CEO of Uganda Airlines recently said the airline had to wait for the UK Civil Aviation Authority to issue guidelines and aviation certification requirements to operate flights to London.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority held a meeting with officials from Uganda Airlines, the Uganda Mission in London and Uganda Civil Aviation Authority in May 2021, after which it was announced that Uganda would commence flights in September 2021.
Bamuturaki, however, said the UK Civil Aviation Authority notified Uganda last October that the airline would have to apply for a third country operator’s permit, a process which takes not less than six months. She is now optimistic that flights to London will commence in June 2022.
He asked the Uganda Government to work on the issue of starting direct flights to UK by Uganda Airlines to promote tourism and investments.
“If Uganda is willing, we are ready to send our aviation people here to help CAA so that we can have direct flights to the UK”.
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